Pilgrim’s Pride posts $22.8 million in 4Q

GREELEY — Thanks to rising chicken prices, Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. on Thursday reported fourth-quarter net sales of $2.2 billion and net income of $22.8 million, resulting in earnings per share of 9 cents for the quarter.

For the full 2012 fiscal year, the company said it recorded $8.1 billion in net sales and $174.2 million
in net income, or 70 cents per weighted average share.

The results, it said, made 2012 one of the company’s best in recent years.

The improvement comes after a bleak 2011. Pilgrim’s Pride reported net losses of more than $85 million in the fourth quarter of the previous year, putting the company’s 2011 losses at almost $497 million.

Net debt in the most recent fourth quarter declined to $1.1 billion during the period, reflecting a year-to-date reduction of $327.8 million.

“The results achieved in 2012 point to a determined and disciplined execution of the strategy we implemented over a year and half ago. Through our team members’ efforts, we have improved our competitive position significantly over the past two years and we believe we are well positioned for that to continue,” Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s CEO, said in a statement.

Increased chicken prices, he said, helped the company offset a “volatile” increase in feed costs.

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