Pilgrim's Pride Corporation PPC reported fourth-quarter 2019 results, with the top and the bottom line improving year over year. The upside can be attributed to improved performance in the United States, Mexico and European operations. However, earnings lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Let’s take a closer look. Q4 in Detail Quarterly adjusted earnings of 14 cents per share surged 55.6% from the figure reported in the year-ago quarter. We believe that higher sales and margins supported the year-over-year upside. However, the bottom line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 22 cents. . In the reported quarter, Pilgrim's Pride generated net sales of $3,063.5 million, up 15.3% year over year. Results were backed by higher sales in the United States, Mexico and European operations. Revenues from the U.S. operations amounted to $1,904.5 million, up 4.6% year over year. The upside was driven by strong demand in case-ready and small bird operations. Results also benefited year over year from better conditions in the U.S. commodity market. Further, Prepared Foods segment improved in the quarter. Additionally, the company’s progress on its Key Customer Strategy is aiding growth. Mexican operations generated revenues of $343.6 million in the reported quarter, up 6.9% year over year. Results gained from increased volume, which more than offset lower prices along with weak macro conditions in Mexico. Revenues from European operations moved up 58.5% year over year to $815.4 million as it continued to witness higher input costs in the region. The uptick was driven by the company’s efforts to mitigate input-cost challenges, investments in automation along with focus on improved yields. Robust operational efficiencies further aided the performance. Further, solid domestic demand and export for pork contributed to the upside. Pilgrim's Pride’s overall cost of sales in the reported quarter increased 12.5% year over year to $2,862.1 million. Moreover, higher sales are likely to have driven gross profit, which rose 80.1% year over year to $201.4 million. Also, gross margin rose 2.4 percentage points to 6.6%. Further, adjusted EBITDA was $161.6 million, up 45.6% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA margin of 5.3% reflected rise of 1.1 percentage points. Other Financial Details Pilgrim's Pride exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of approximately $260.6 million, long-term debt (less current maturities) of $2,276 million and total shareholders’ equity of $2,536.1 million. Further, the company generated $666.5 million as cash from operating activities for fifty-two weeks ended 29 December, 2019. Growth Efforts on Track The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company is committed toward boosting operations through Key Customer strategy as well as augmenting capacities and capabilities. Pilgrim's Pride continues to engage in evolving the portfolio with product diversification, high-value products and margin expansion. Moreover, the company is committed toward continuous innovation of new products. Price Performance Pilgrim's Pride’s shares have rallied 25% in the past year compared with the industry’s growth of 18.6%.
Looking for More Food Stocks? Check These Hormel Foods HRL, which carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), has a long-term earnings growth rate of 6.4%. You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Lamb Weston ( LW Quick Quote LW - Free Report) , which carries a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 8.8%. Hershey Company HSY, which carries a Zacks Rank #2, has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 27 billion devices in just 3 years, creating a $1.7 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 6 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2020. Click here for the 6 trades >>