US poultry producer Pilgrim's Pride has reported a net income of US$2.8m for the first fiscal quarter ended 28 December 2002, a fall of $10.2m compared to the previous year

The company's net sales for the first quarter were $627.4 million, a $28.6 million decrease compared to $656.0m for the same period last year. The first fiscal quarter results reflect a $0.22 per share gain, net of tax, associated with a payment by the federal government on their avian influenza relief plan for turkey producers and a $0.02 per share gain, net of tax, partial payment from a vitamin lawsuit settlement on a suit filed by the company.

Pilgrim's Pride's CEO David Van Hoose said: "The negative effects of the avian influenza outbreak and the turkey deli meat recall in our Eastern Division along with rising feed costs and lower prices realized in the US for dark meat chicken products caused by the continuing effects of reduced exports to Russia, were the primary causes of our first fiscal quarter of 2003 results being down compared to the prior year. While we continue to believe that our insurance programs will substantially cover the recall and its direct effects, there will be timing differences that occur between the effects of the recall on our operations and when the recoveries anticipated can properly be reflected in our financial statements. We estimate that the recall negatively affected our net sales by approximately $30m and our operating margins between $5-10m during the quarter."