Brazil-based beef giant JBS has seen quarterly earnings slump by almost 80% as the downturn hit beef prices and weighed on consumption.

The company, which moved to diversify its business in September with the acquisition of US poultry group Pilgrim's Pride, booked a 78% slide in third-quarter net earnings to BRL151.5m (US$87.4m).

Net revenue for the three months to the end of September rose 7.8% to BRL8.38bn but JBS's saw its cost of goods sold climb by almost 12%.

The company's results were also lapping a 2008 third quarter in which it benefitted from net financial income of BRL408.7m. This year, the figure stood at BRL7.8m.

JBS reported operating profit down 70.9% at BRL218.1m; EBITDA fell 38.5% to BRL291.9m.

However, president Joesley Mendonca Batista insisted the company could see "some signs of an improvement" in North America and Europe, where he said animal protein had remained "below pre-crisis levels" over the summer.

"All in all, things are looking brighter as we move forward, although at a very gradual pace," Batista said.