GREELEY, Colo. – Acquisitions and investments in the United States and abroad are showing results for Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. in the first quarter of 2018.

For the first quarter ended April 1, 2018, net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride was $119.4 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, compared with $93.9 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, reported in the first quarter of 2017.

Net Sales for the first quarter were $2.75 billion, up 10.8 percent (or an increase of 35.9 percent if excluding the Moy Park numbers from last year), compared with $2.48 billion reported in the year-ago quarter.

Pilgrim’s CEO Bill Lovette said US operations delivered a strong performance with help from the company’s small-bird and case-ready businesses.

“Our big bird deboning experienced a soft start as prices remained unseasonally low through the first half of the quarter, but prices recovered quickly and returned closer to normal seasonality,” Lovette said in a statement. “Despite some headwinds in feed, labor and logistics, the investments we made over the past few years, together with the recent acquisitions and our capture of operational improvements, helped us to generate consistent results and continued to contribute to the evolution of our portfolio in supporting our vision to become the best and most respected company in our industry.”

The company’s operations in Mexico exceeded expectations due to normalization of the market’s logistics and infrastructure disruptions caused by natural events, the company said. Diversification into Pilgrim’s and the Del Dia premium brands are gaining momentum and producing strong results.

“Our volumes increased during the quarter, driving a very strong EBITDA performance that was not only well above the level from a year ago but also above initial expectations,” Lovette said. “The strength has continued, which we see as the continuation of the trend of a strong, growing market for chicken. Our Prepared Foods are growing at a double-digit rate and are generating great results under both premium Pilgrim’s and Del Dia to drive the evolution of our Mexican portfolio towards more differentiated, higher-value products, and ultimately margin expansion.”

Pilgrim’s successfully refinanced Moy Park Bonds which impacted the interest in the quarter but with strong support from market and favorable terms for future benefits, according to the company. Lovette said the integration of Moy Park is showing positive results through significant share gained at a key customer.

“The operational improvements initiatives are also going well, and we are slightly ahead of our $50 million synergy target for the next two years,” he said. “Based on the success of the previous integrations, we continue to believe we have the method and the team to continue to grow the profitability and potential of our European business.”