Pilgrims focusing on improving efficiency - but also looking for ways to grow business

Pilgrim's focusing on improving efficiency - but also looking for ways to grow business

US poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride has reported higher half-year profits as a lower cost of sales helped offset a dip in sales.

The company, majority-owned by Brazilian meat group JBS, booked net income of US$288.6m for the 26 weeks to 29 June, compared to US$245m a year earlier. 

Sales dipped 0.3% to US$4.2bn but the lower cost of sales helped margins.

In the second quarter, Pilgrim's net income declined 0.2% to US$190.4m. Net sales inched up 0.1% to US$2.19bn.

"Our efforts this quarter have been directed squarely towards the goals we defined in our strategy," CEO Bill Lovette said. "We outlined four distinct growth opportunities, and each undertaking we've pursued has been consistent with those opportunities. We have directed our capital spending towards leveraging our existing assets and growing our value added exports, sought out accretive acquisitions, and have expanded our presence in the Mexican chicken market."

Earlier this week, Pilgrim's and its parent JBS struck a deal to buy Tyson Foods' operations in Mexico and Brazil. Pilgrim's will run the Mexican business.

Tyson said the US$575m deal would be used to pay for its acquisition of Hillshire Brands, a business it beat off competition from JBS and Pilgrim's to buy.