Pilgrim's Pride Corp. reported net earnings of $41.8 million, or $0.20 per share, on net sales of $1.8 billion for the fourth quarter ended December 26, 2010. For the comparable quarter a year ago, the company reported net earnings of $33.6 million, or $0.44 per diluted share, on total sales of $1.6 billion. Adjusted EBITDA, which excludes restructuring and reorganization charges, was $124.8 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, versus $64.9 million for the same period a year ago.

"We were pleased with the progress in our financial performance in the fourth quarter, particularly in light of the challenges posed by sharply higher grain prices," said Bill Lovette, Pilgrim's president and chief executive. "Our continuing focus on operating efficiencies, cost control, and sales and product mix improvements helped generate positive results during a difficult time in the industry."

Lovette said customer demand improved in the fourth quarter, with Pilgrim's reporting higher volume in its retail and foodservice segments compared to a year ago. Pilgrim's reported double-digit volume increases in some areas of its foodservice business and the company has picked up additional retail business for 2011 from several of its largest customers. 
Lovette said the company began deboning operations at its idled processing plant in Douglas, Ga., last November and re-started slaughter operations in mid-January. The company expects the plant to reach full capacity later this year. Pilgrim's is committed to balancing production with customer needs and will target further expansion based on that demand.

"We are cautiously optimistic about the outlook for chicken this year," Lovette said. "While all of us are concerned about sharply higher grain prices and the uncertain economy, there are a number of positive signs as we enter 2011. Based on the negotiations we have completed with most of our foodservice and retail customers, our pricing should be improved year over year. In addition, given the projected reduction in beef supply this year and the higher prices that are expected for beef and pork in 2011, chicken should be attractively positioned with budget-conscious consumers. We are seeing increased demand from foodservice accounts and exports should strengthen this year, particularly as we pursue new market opportunities through our partnership with JBS."

For the full 2010 fiscal year, the company reported net income of $87.1 million, or $0.41 per share, on sales of $6.9 billion. For the comparable 12-month period in the previous year, Pilgrim's reported net income of $110.8 million, or $1.44 per diluted share, on sales of $6.8 billion. The fiscal 2010 results include nonrecurring restructuring charges and reorganization expenses of $88.9 million pre-tax, or $55.3 million after tax, or $0.26 per share, compared to nonrecurring restructuring charges and reorganization expenses of $120.3 million pre-tax, or $74.9 million after tax, or $0.97 per diluted share for the comparable period in 2009. Adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2010 was $481.9 million, compared to $495.4 million for the comparable period in 2009.

Source: Pilgrim's Pride Corp.

NAMP partners with AMI to co-sponsor food safety education programming at Spring Expo 

The North American Meat Processors Association (NAMP) is partnering with the American Meat Institute (AMI) to co-sponsor the food safety education programming at the 2011 Meat, Poultry & Seafood Industry Convention and Exposition, April 13-16, 2011, at McCormick Place, Chicago, Ill.

“Food safety is our industry’s top priority and we are pleased that NAMP will be joining us in this important effort to provide attendees with the tools they need to face today’s challenges,” said AMI president and CEO J. Patrick Boyle.

“Collaborative efforts such as this are essential to our common goal — to ensure our products are the safest in the world. We are happy to be part of this world-class Expo,” said NAMP Executive Director Phil Kimball.

Scheduled food safety sessions include:
Residues: Process Control (Wednesday, April 13, 8:15 a.m. — 9:15 a.m.)
Concern about public health consequences if residues are found in food is growing. Attendees will hear the latest from processors and suppliers about the future of controlling residues in their product and will leave with a better understanding of the questions that should be asked to ensure the proper systems are in place to meet current international standards. 
Regulatory Update (Wednesday, April 13, 9:30 a.m. — 10:30 a.m.)
Attendees will gather the latest on key United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) regulations, including nutritional labeling, the possible designation of additional STECs as potential adulterants, the multi-drug resistant Salmonella and the continuing implementation of the Public Health Information System (PHIS). 
Short Course: Anatomy of a Recall (Thursday, April 14, 8:15- a.m. — 10:30 a.m.)
This session will teach attendees how to manage a recall through an examination of several headline-making scenarios. 
Short Course: Allergen Control for the Meat and Poultry Industry (Friday, April 15, 8:15- a.m. — 10:30 a.m.)
This intensive session will focus on allergen control for the meat and poultry industry with special emphasis on sanitation, labeling and record-keeping. 
Short Course: Listeria monocytogenes (Saturday, April 16, 7:30- a.m. — 11:30 a.m.)
This course will provide in-depth discussions on the industry’s best practices and how to implement appropriate and effective microbial interventions and compliance with regulatory requirements.

For more information or to register for the 2011 AMI Expo, go to www.amiexpo.com or www.amiexpo2011.com.

Source: AMI

U.S. Foodservice-Memphis expands operations 

The Memphis division of U.S. Foodservice Inc. today announced that it has agreed to purchase the building it currently occupies at 5900 Holmes Road from Belz Enterprises. While the company previously leased 175,000 square feet of space in the building, the company will now expand its operations to encompass the building’s 385,000 square feet of working space by the end of 2011. The additional space will enable the division to increase its operations to meet the demand of its increasing number of customers in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi.

“We are doubling the size of our facility to dramatically increase the number of products we offer our customers,” said Joe Campbell, division president, U.S. Foodservice-Memphis. “We appreciate the support of the City of Memphis/Shelby County Industrial Development Board, the State of Tennessee and the Tennessee Valley Authority and look forward to creating as many as 60 new, high-quality jobs as our operations grow in this outstanding community.”

The Memphis division currently employs more than 200 people.

“We evaluated opportunities in both Tennessee and Mississippi before deciding to expand our Memphis facility,” added Campbell. “We’ve been a member of the Memphis business community for more than 50 years and are looking forward to continuing our tradition of serving the community for many years to come.”

Source: U.S. Foodservice Inc.

Ripken Power Shred forms partnership with Trenton Thunder 

Florio Sports LLC announced that it has partnered with the Trenton Thunder, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, making Ripken Power Shred the exclusive beef jerky for the Trenton Thunder and their fans in 2011.

The new partnership will allow the Trenton Thunder to serve all three Ripken Power Shred flavors – original, sweet n’ spicy, and teriyaki to fans at the Waterfront Park food courts. Ripken Power Shred will be the Title Sponsor of the Thunder’s Baseball Camps allowing all participants to sample Ripken Power Shred products. The deal also includes the Ripken Power Shred “Power Inning,” a nightly in-game promotion, in which a lucky section of fans will win product samples if the Thunder hits a home run during the inning.

“Ripken Power Shred is excited to join the Trenton Thunder as their exclusive beef jerky,” said Frank Florio, president and founder of Florio Sports, LLC, the Long Valley, N.J. based company that created Ripken Power Shred. “Our product is made in America, and unlike any other brand of jerky products on the market. We look forward to providing this great game-time snack to Thunder fans this season, which we’re sure they’ll love.”

Thunder General manager Will Smith said, “Partnering with Florio Sports, LLC and Ripken Power Shred will give our fans a unique and healthy snacking alternative at Waterfront Parl. I think our players are going to love it too.”

Ripken Power Shred is a jerky product sourced and made in the United States and partnered with Hall of Famer Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken Power Shred is currently available online atwww.chewjerky.com and will be available in select stores this spring.

Source: Florio Sports LLC