GREELEY, COLO. — Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. focused on diversifying its portfolio and growing operational efficiency in 2022. Based on its 2023 fiscal first quarter report for the period ended March 26, Pilgrim’s efforts yielded net sales of $4.2 billion, down slightly from last year by 1.8%. Net income was $5.6 million, equal to $0.02 per share on the common stock, down sharply from $280.6 million, or $1.15 per share, during the same period last year.

Adjusted earnings per share were $0.08 with adjusted net income at $19.05 billion. Adjusted EBITDA was $151.9 million, or a 3.6% margin, down 70% from a year ago.

“Our strategy of fostering our partnerships with key customers, operational excellence and growing our diversified portfolio of businesses, has demonstrated its resilience to a variety of market challenges over the last few years,” said Fabio Sandri, chief executive officer. “Despite improving market fundamentals during the quarter, business conditions remained difficult given elevated input costs, persistent inflation and ample protein availability. Nonetheless, our team members’ relentless determination supported an improvement in margins relative to the prior quarter in all geographies.”

Pilgrim’s US business saw improvement, thanks to Small Birds and Prepared Foods, the company said. Case ready drove growth above industry averages with key customers.

Pilgrim’s plant expansion in Athens, Ga., and its new protein conversion plant are on track, the company added.

While the United Kingdom and Europe business faced economic challenges, customer partnerships and investments in network optimization helped adjusted EBITDA margins to still improve.

Margins for Pilgrim’s Mexico business returned to historical levels. Improvements in live operations and stabilization of market fundamentals helped the business to rebound.

“I’m proud of the Mexico team to quickly remediate pressing issues in live operations to meet key customer needs, drive operational excellence to alleviate the impact from demanding business conditions, and diversify our portfolio through innovation and branded growth,” Sandri said.

Globally, Pilgrim’s continues to drive its sustainability efforts. It recently unveiled a state-of-the-art poultry farm in the United Kingdom that can reduce emissions by nearly 100% from the redesign of housing along with the application of solar and heating technologies.

“Throughout the past year, we’ve had an intense focus on reducing energy intensity at our processing plants,” Sandri said. “I’m pleased that we’ve extended our efforts throughout our supply chain to create ways to further reduce our greenhouse gas emissions footprint, creating a better future for all team members.”