GREELEY, Colo. – Pilgrim’s Pride Corp., a unit of JBS SA, said that weather disruptions and a challenging environment in commodity chicken led to lower revenue and a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2018.

The company did have some positive marks, however, with 15 percent growth in Prepared Foods in the US and 33 percent growth in Mexico.

For the fourth quarter, Pilgrim’s reported a net loss of $ 7,324,000 ($0.03 per diluted share) compared to $ 134,337,000 ($0.54 per diluted share).

Net sales for the quarter were $ 2,656,789,000 compared with $ 2,742,352,000 in the same quarter of fiscal 2017, representing a 3.1 percent decrease year-over-year.

For the 52-week fiscal year ended Dec. 30, 2018, Pilgrim’s reported sales of $10,937,784,000, a 1.6 percent increase over the previous 53-week fiscal year, ended Dec. 31, 2017.

Net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride for the full year was $246,804,000 compared with $718,167,000 reported for the full year of 2017. Earnings per share for the year declined 64.2 percent, to $1.00 in 2018 compared to $2.79 the previous year. 

“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,” said Bill Lovette, CEO of Pilgrim's. “As we begin 2019, conditions in the US 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.”

Pilgrim’s adjusted operating income margins were 0.3 percent in the US, 5.3 percent in Mexico and 3.8 percent in its European operations. Adjustments reflect the Moy Park acquisition, weather events and variations in exchange rates. In 2017, Pilgrim’s Pride acquired Northern Ireland-based Moy Park for $1.3 billion. 

“We are continuing to improve the performance of our European (Moy Park) operations,” Lovette said. “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.”