SÃO PAULO, Brazil – The Marfrig Group announced a net loss of R$540.0 million (US$307.4 million) for its third quarter 2011 compared to R$68.6 million (US$39.0 million) in the third quarter 2010. Net sales, however, were R$5,524.2 million (US$3,144.4 million) compared to R$3,807.2 million (US$2167.0 million) in the third quarter of 2010.

Marcos Antonio Molina dos Santos, Marfrig’s chief executive officer and chairman, said the quarter of marked an important step towards the consolidation of the company’s long-term strategy.

“The company improved its operational efficiency, with the capture of synergies among the business divisions, reduced costs and expenses and generated R$310.5 million (US$176.7 million) in operating cash flow,” he said. “Despite all the setbacks and uncertainties in the global economic scenario throughout the quarter, including inflationary pressure in the countries where we operate, exchange rate volatility and still high grain and cattle prices, we recorded robust net revenue growth of 45.1 percent over 3Q10 and of 3.8 percent over the previous quarter.”

Marfrig implemented several initiatives aimed at continuing operational improvements and financial discipline, which resulted in higher capacity utilization in company plants, better control and management of working capital accounts, lower administrative and selling expenses, and a reduction in Capex (R$92.9 million, excluding breeding stock) over previous quarters, he added.

“The virtuous combination of all these factors allowed us to make considerable progress in regard to the generation of free cash flow and led to a substantial increase in operational profitability,” Santos said. “The positive results show that our strategy of building a complete portfolio of high value-added products, strong brand loyalty and a global platform for the development, production, sale and distribution of food products, is increasingly aligned and integrated."

The Marfrig Group is one of the largest global food companies based on beef, pork, poultry and fish. Its production, commercial and distribution units are located in 22 countries on five continents. Its products are sold in more than 140 countries. Employing approximately 90,000 employees, the Marfrig Group is the largest sheep producer in South America, the largest beef company in Argentina, the largest poultry producer in the United Kingdom and the largest private company in Uruguay and Northern Ireland.