US poultry processor Pilgrim's Pride has announced that it is raising its previously issued earnings guidance for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 to a range of $1.07 to $1.12 per share from the $0.90 to $1.00 per share range it had been expecting.

The company said the higher guidance was due to better results in both the company's US and Mexico chicken operations than was previously forecasted. The improved financial results were primarily attributable to higher than expected sales in the company's US chicken operations and better selling prices in the company's Mexico operations on less volume than originally forecasted.

"We are very pleased that our fourth quarter of fiscal 2005 results are coming in ahead of our prior expectations and demand for our products was strong both domestically and internationally," said O.B. Goolsby, Jr, president and chief executive officer.

"Additionally, while we sincerely hope that the high pathogenic avian influenza virus that has plagued Asia for the last few years is brought under control quickly, we believe that over the short term this will keep demand strong in the international markets for high quality meat proteins being produced in the US."