JBS to Purchase Majority Equity in Pilgrim''s Pride

September 15, 2009 07:00 PM
 

Beef Today Editors

Pilgrim's Pride has agreed to sell Brazilian beef processor JBS a majority equity stake as part of the poultry processor's plan as it emerges from bankruptcy. Under the terms of the reorganization plan, Pilgrim's Pride will sell 64% of the new common stock to JBS for $800 million in cash.

Existing shareholders will get 36 percent of its new stock under the reorganization plan, which must be confirmed by a bankruptcy judge. Proceeds from the sale will be used to pay off debts. Pilgrim's Pride anticipates the plan to be confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court in time for the Debtors 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," says 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. As a result of the improvements achieved this year, we believe we have been able to maximize the value of our company through our plan of reorganization that achieves what precious few restructurings can: full repayment of allowed creditor claims and substantial retained value for existing stockholders."

"Looking ahead, we are truly excited about the strategic growth opportunities available with JBS as our majority shareholder," Dr. Jackson added. "JBS has a well-earned global reputation for operational and service excellence in beef and pork production. We are confident that our plan will earn the support of all stakeholders and provide the foundation for sustained, profitable growth in the years ahead."

"We believe our reorganization plan will pave the way for Pilgrim's Pride to emerge from bankruptcy before the end of the year and mark a new beginning for this proud company, one that I fully support and endorse," said Lonnie "Bo" Pilgrim, senior chairman. "While the past year has been a difficult time for everyone involved in our restructuring, I take pride in knowing that we have a plan in place to pay back our creditors in full and preserve a great deal of value for our existing stockholders."

"Two years ago, JBS acquired Swift & Company, a U.S. beef and pork company, with a goal of managing its strong assets and turning it into a well-managed, efficient and profitable company. We believe the company's performance demonstrates our continued success in meeting this goal," said Wesley M. Batista, president and chief executive officer of JBS USA Holdings. "In 2008, we acquired Smithfield Beef and Five Rivers Cattle Feeding to strengthen our beef platform and provide synergies to our existing operations. As a U.S. beef and pork company, we are proud to now enter into the U.S. poultry industry with the acquisition of Pilgrim's Pride. We look forward to working with Pilgrim's management to increase the company's competitiveness both domestically and internationally. As we have accomplished with our beef and pork platforms, we will utilize our existing assets and strong management to grow Pilgrim's poultry business. We are excited about the opportunity to work with Pilgrim's employees, contract growers, customers, vendors and shareholders to enhance value."

For more information from Pilgrim's Pride, click here.


 

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