BRAZILIAN FIRM TO ACQUIRE MAJORITY OWNERSHIP IN PILGRIM'S PRIDE
PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- Brazil-based JBS S.A. will become the majority stockholder of the world's largest, poultry company, Pilgrim's Pride said Wednesday as it announced part of its restructuring plan under Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Pilgrim's Pride said JBS USA Holdings Inc., a subsidiary of JBS S.A., will acquire 64 percent of the new common stock, providing a cash infusion of $800 million which will be used to pay creditors. All existing Pilgrim's Pride current common stock will be cancelled, with existing stockholders receiving the same number of the new common shares.
In Alabama, Guy Hall, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's Poultry Division, said, "Pilgrim's Pride growers are hopeful that this infusion of cash from JBS USA will bring Pilgrim's Pride out of bankruptcy and into profitability. An increase in profitability for Pilgrim's Pride could mean that more chickens placed on poultry farms in Alabama. For the last two years, many poultry growers have been struggling financially because of fewer chickens being placed on their farms. This decrease in chick placements was caused by decreased exports and a weak economy."
Pilgrim's Pride said that it anticipates the plan to be confirmed by the bankruptcy court in time to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of December.
"Over the past 10 months, we have fundamentally restructured Pilgrim's Pride as a market-driven company clearly focused on delivering the best service, selection and value to our customers as efficiently as possible," said Don Jackson, president and chief executive officer. "Thanks to the shared commitment and hard work of our employees, we believe that Pilgrim's Pride is positioned to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger, more efficient competitor. We have returned to profitability, the quality of our asset base has improved significantly and we are gaining additional business. While we recognize that some of the changes made during our restructuring have been painful for our employees and contract growers, these decisions were absolutely necessary in helping Pilgrim's Pride to operate more efficiently while protecting the greatest number of jobs in the long-term."
JBS is the parent company of JBS Packerland in Green Bay, Wis., the former Smithfield Beef Group.