SAO PAULO, Brazil – JBS SA, the world's largest beef producer, posted net income of 66.4 million reais ($33.85 million) for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 2012, compared to 25.6 million reais ($13.5 million) in the comparable year-ago quarter.

Consolidated net revenues advanced 29 percent to 21.9 billion reais ($11.1 billion) for the quarter. EBITDA for the quarter was $1.2 billion reais ($609.6 million), up 24.5 percent.

Wesley Batista, CEO of JBS SA, said the company made significant improvements in 2012.

"We transformed the 2011 loss of R$75.7 million into an adjusted profit of $1.26 billion last year," he said. "Despite the weaker than expected growth of the Brazilian economy, the challenges that Europe is still going through, the ongoing recovery of the economy in the United States and a significant increase in grain prices caused by one of the most severe droughts in US history, we posted an EBITDA of R$4.4 billion in 2012, a result which exceeds by 40 percent the previous year's performance."

The company's beef segment posted net revenues of $4,856 million, up 8.1 percent compared to the year-ago period. The company was able to improve its operations through better management of working capital and efficiency gains, despite adverse market conditions, JBS said.

The reduction of restrictions imposed by Japan on imports of US beef should promote US exports and contribute to increased profitability per animal processed during 2013 coupled with a more favorable demand and supply scenario," the company reported.

Pilgrim's Pride reported fourth quarter net revenues of $2,189.7 million, an increase of 19.7 percent. Higher prices for chicken meat offset higher feed costs.

Net revenues in the pork segment climbed 2.5 percent to $955.5 million. The results reflect an increase in the number of hogs slaughtered and better inventory management, the company said.