GREELEY, Colo. – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. reported fourth quarter net income of $92.08 million, or $0.37 per diluted share, compared with a loss of $7.32 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Net sales for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 29, 2019, were $3.06 billion compared with $2.66 billion reported in the year-ago period.

“In Q4, our operating performance in the US has continued to improve, driven by our partnership with Key customers and the relentless focus on executing and delivering the best results possible despite changes in market conditions,” said Jayson Penn, chief executive officer of Pilgrim’s. “Within our case-ready and small bird businesses, strong demand, especially from QSR customers, has continued to outstrip supply. The commodity sector has continued to be challenging but we experienced improved market conditions compared to 2018. Our US Prepared Foods continues to evolve, reflecting the investments made over the last few years.

“Weak macro conditions during Q4 in Mexico contributed to uncertainties in consumer spending and demand, especially in traditional markets,” Penn continued. “Although volume growth was solid, prices were below seasonal expectations. Despite the difficult market environment in Q4, our Mexican business has continued to perform well operationally versus the industry and was able to generate an improvement in results during fiscal 2019 compared to 2018.”

For the full year, Pilgrim’s reported net income of $455.9 million, or an 84 percent increase from 2018. Net sales for the year were $11.41 billion, or an increase of 4.3 percent from the prior year.

Pilgrim’s attributed the result to its portfolio strategy and geographic diversification which reduced the impact of challenging market conditions.

“While overall global market conditions including US commodity chicken improved during 2019, our team members have continued to deliver on our strategy, achieving a significant increase in relative performance compared to last year and to our industry competition,” Penn said. “Our diverse global footprint has contributed to well-balanced and more consistent results against different specific market conditions. We maintain our approach to the successful Key Customer strategy, which is the basis for our strong growth.

“While our product portfolio is already differentiated, we are investing to further innovate, and increase our capacities and capabilities to meet customer demand,” he added. “We expect value added, specialty products to account for a meaningfully larger portion of our total results over the next few years as we continue to de-emphasize the mix of more volatile commodity sales and strengthen our margin profile.”