SÃO PAULO, Brazil – JBS S.A. recorded consolidated net income of R563.2 million ($144.9 million) for the fourth quarter of 2018, reversing a R451.7 million loss reported in the year-ago quarter.

Consolidated net revenue for the fourth quarter advanced 10.7 percent to R47,318.7 million from R42,734.5 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2017.

For fiscal 2018, excluding the impact of a one-time tax charge, JBS posted net income of R1,606.3 million. Reported net income for the full year was R25.2 million.

Consolidated net revenue for 2018 was R181,680.2 million, an increase of 11.3 percent compared to 2017, and the highest revenue ever recorded by JBS, the company noted.

In a statement, JBS Global CEO Gilberto Tomazoni said, “At the same time that we delivered excellent results, we also created new opportunities for our cattle ranchers and integrated partners, suppliers, customers, consumers, out team members and their families.

“We are building a history of valuable and widely recognized brands thanks to the quality of the products we offer and to our determination to innovate with absolute respect to the needs of our customers and consumers,” he said. “With this objective, we created a global innovation structure dedicated to understanding and anticipating consumer demands in the different markets we operate, which allows us to develop and improve sales channels and solutions that favor access to our products and add value to all our stakeholders.”

On a segment basis, JBS USA Beef, which includes Australia and Canada, reported fourth quarter net revenue of $5,405.8 million, down from $5,684.6 reported in the fourth quarter of 2017. Net revenue for the full year was $21,482.8 million, down 0.8 percent from 2017.

The company said net revenue reduction was driven by the sale of its Five Rivers cattle feeding operation, and there was one week less compared to 2017.

“In North America, notably in the US, the fundamentals of the beef industry continue to be solid and favorable to cattle producers and processors, as cattle supply continues to grow and processing capacity remains the same,” the company said. “The strong US economy, coupled with the low unemployment rate, are promoting beef consumption and growing demand, resulting in higher margins for the US beef industry.”

Higher export volumes in 2018 also helped results. JBS Australia improved performance through increased exports of beef to China and other Asian countries. “Primo Foods, our packaged food business in Australia and New Zealand, continues to lead the market, driving consumer behavior through innovation and promoting strong results consistent with the company’s expectations,” JBS added.

The company’s pork business, JBS USA Pork, reported net revenue of $1,403.2 million, down from $1,598.0 million reported in the year-ago quarter. “In the last year, Pork processing capacity in the US grew materially, affecting sales prices of pork meat in the domestic market,” the company said. “On the other hand, live hogs prices also declined, partially offsetting the impact of margin reduction.”

Plumrose finished 2018 with a record performance, JBS said, as the business continues to increase production capabilities, grow sales and develop branded products. And like most stakeholders in the pork trade, JBS is monitoring the African Swine Fever outbreaks in Asia.

“The company’s management believes the continued spread of the disease in that region, notably in China, could bring significant changes to the current global pork trade environment,” the company said.

Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. (PPC) reported a net loss of $7,324 million compared to a profit of $134,337 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2017. The company attributed the loss to lower prices for chicken which made it difficult for the company to recover from production disruptions caused by severe winter weather.

Net Revenue for the quarter was $2,656.8 million, compared with $2,742.4 million reported in the year ago period.

In Europe, higher feed costs as a result of a drought offset Pilgrim's improved performance through expected synergies with Moy Park. The company expects the effects of the drought will be reflected in Moy Park prices in coming quarters.

“PPC’s Mexican operations produced a very strong first half, a weaker than seasonal Q3, followed by a rebound in Q4,” the company said. “Throughout the year, the Prepared Foods segment in Mexico recorded a significant increase of 33 percent in volume sold in the domestic market, as a result of the investments that were made over the past few years to grow capacity, develop PPC brands and focus on key customers.”

Net revenue in the company’s Seara business climbed 3.1 percent to R4.6 billion in the fourth quarter, driven by higher average sales prices for chicken and prepared foods.

“International market demand, particularly in Asia, has been contributing to a better pricing of Seara’s exports products in a moment when grain prices have been showing a downtrend given the better balance between supply and demand,” JBS said.

And JBS Brazil, which includes the leather and related businesses, reported net revenue of R27.6 billion which represents an increase of 17.1 percent over the fourth quarter of 2017.

“The company remains focused on improving its channels and product mix to maximize profitability and strengthening partnerships with key customers to fulfill their needs in a more efficient and customized way,” JBS said. “Additionally, JBS has developed a series of special programs, together with its cattle suppliers, to ensure carcass standardization and superior quality in order to offer even better products to its customers.”

1 Brazilian real = 0.26 U.S. dollar