Pilgrim's Pride returns to profit in 3rd quarter

GREELEY, Colo. - Pilgrim's Pride returned to a profit in its fiscal third quarter as the chicken producer continued to cut expenses and faced fewer charges. Its results topped analysts' estimates and the company's stock climbed in premarket trading.

CEO Bill Lovette said in a statement that Pilgrim's Pride is still contending with rising feed costs, but that the company is combating this in part by reducing costs and raising prices.

The Greeley, Colo. company earned $42.9 million, or 17 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 23. That compares with a loss of $162.5 million, or 72 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts forecast earnings of 7 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue increased 10 percent to $2.07 billion from $1.89 billion, beating Wall Street's estimate of $1.95 billion.

Shares of Pilgrim's Pride gained 28 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $4.85 before the market open.

Selling, general and administrative expenses declined to $41.8 million from $51.2 million, while administrative restructuring charges fell to $2.6 million from $11.5 million.

Pilgrim's Pride Corp. said Friday that it lowered its debt to $1.1 billion in the quarter, trimming $371.1 million in debt for the year to date.

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