Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation reports fourth quarter and year-end 2018 financial results.

2018 highlights

  • Adjusted Operating Income margins of 4.2% in U.S., 8.8% in Mexico and 4.3% in Europe operations, respectively.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $798 million, or a 7.3% margin.
  • Portfolio strategy and geographic diversification reducing the impact of challenging market conditions, specifically in U.S. commodity chicken. We remain motivated to pursue additional growth potential and product differentiation in 2019, aligning our strategic priorities to continue providing stronger platforms for the future.
  • Prepared Foods grew 15% in the U.S. and 33% in Mexico, and is increasing its momentum, realizing the results of investments made over the past few years to further widen our product and brand portfolio, strengthen key customer relationships, and improve margin consistency.
  • Moy Park integration is better than expected; operations and profitability improving with synergies captured despite headwinds from feed costs caused by regional drought.

Fourth quarter results

  • Net sales of $2.66 billion, -3.1% versus same quarter last year.
  • Adjusted net income of $21 million and adjusted EPS of $0.09.
  • Adjusted operating income margins of 0.3% in U.S., 5.3% in Mexico and 3.8% in Europe operations, respectively, adjusted for non-recurring items related to weather events, Moy Park acquisition and Exchange Rate.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $111 million, or a 4.2% margin.

“In the U.S. we endured a very challenging environment in commodity chicken, slower than expected recovery from weather disruptions at some complexes, partially offset by an improvement in operating results from Prepared Foods. In Europe we improved the performance through expected synergies but were impacted by higher feed inputs as a result of a drought that will be passed to our prices in coming quarters. Our Mexican operations produced a very strong first half, a weaker than seasonal Q3, followed by a rebound in Q4. The diversity of our portfolio of bird sizes, geographical market exposure, our culture and our people, are what fundamentally differentiate us from the competition, giving us the potential to reduce volatility and generate higher margins over time, and the results for 2018 represented the power of that strategy. As we begin 2019, conditions in the U.S. commodity markets including exports are already recovering, supporting OECD-FAO data that over the longer term chicken as a protein will continue to outperform in terms of growth potential globally,” stated Bill Lovette, Chief Executive Officer of Pilgrim's.

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“Results from Prepared Foods are accelerating in momentum with a strong 15% increase in volume in the U.S. and 33% increase in Mexico, reflecting the investments we made over the past few years to grow capacities and capabilities to meet customer expectations. The build out for innovation and marketing to drive future strong growth continues. We believe the prospects for more growth remain and the improvement in performance is sustainable. To further support the growth initiatives, we are also transitioning to a more innovative package design.”

“We are continuing to improve the performance of our European (Moy Park) operations. Margins have increased since the acquisition just a year and a half ago, and are moving in a positive trajectory. The integration is better than expected and we have extracted both operating and product synergies with our other geographical facilities. The cost of feed inputs have increased due to the drought in Europe and some of this impact will only be mitigated in coming quarters. However, we have plans in place which, combined with the success in improving the profitability of our prior acquisitions, have reaffirmed our belief we have the methodology and the experienced personnel required to continue growing the operating and financial performance of the U.K. and continental Europe business.”