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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
 
 
FORM 10-K
 
 
 (Mark One)
x
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2017
OR
o    TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from                      to                     
Commission File number 1-9273
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PILGRIM’S PRIDE CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Delaware
75-1285071
(State or other jurisdiction of
incorporation or organization)
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)
 
 
1770 Promontory Circle, Greeley, Colorado
80634-9038
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (970) 506-8000
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Title of each class
Name of each exchange on which registered
Common Stock, Par Value $0.01
The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.  Yes  x
   No  o
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act.  Yes  o
    No  x
Indicate by check mark whether the Registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the Registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.  Yes  x    No  o
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Website, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files).  Yes  x
    No  o
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of Registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.  x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, a smaller reporting company, or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large Accelerated Filer
x



  
Accelerated Filer
 
o
 
 
 
 
Non-accelerated Filer
o (Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
  
Smaller reporting company
 
o
 
 
 
Emerging growth company
 
o


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If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. o

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).  Yes  o   No  x
The aggregate market value of the Registrant’s Common Stock, $0.01 par value, held by non-affiliates of the Registrant as of June 25, 2017 was $1,203,667,109. For purposes of the foregoing calculation only, all directors, executive officers and greater than 10% beneficial owners have been deemed affiliates. Number of shares of the Registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of February 14, 2018 was 248,752,508.

DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2018 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this annual report.


Table of Contents

PILGRIM’S PRIDE CORPORATION
FORM 10-K
TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
PART I
Page
Item 1.
Item 1A.
Item 1B.
Item 2.
Item 3.
Item 4.
 
PART II
 
Item 5.
Item 6.
Item 7.
Item 7A.
Item 8.
Item 9.
Item 9A.
 
PART III
 
Item 10.
Item 11.
Item 12.
Item 13.
Item 14.
 
PART IV
 
Item 15.
 


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PART I
Forward Looking Statements and Explanatory Note
Certain written and oral statements made by our Company and subsidiaries of our Company may constitute “forward-looking statements” as defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This includes statements made herein, in our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), in press releases, and in certain other oral and written presentations.
Statements of our intentions, beliefs, expectations or predictions for the future, denoted by the words “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “plan,” “project,” “imply,” “intend,” “should,” “foresee” and similar expressions, are forward-looking statements that reflect our current views about future events and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include those described under “Risk Factors” below and elsewhere in this annual report.
Actual results could differ materially from those projected in these forward-looking statements as a result of these factors, among others, many of which are beyond our control.
In making these statements, we are not undertaking, and specifically decline to undertake, any obligation to address or update each or any factor in future filings or communications regarding our business or results, and we are not undertaking to address how any of these factors may have caused changes in information contained in previous filings or communications. The risks described below are not the only risks we face, and additional risks and uncertainties may also impair our business operations. The occurrence of any one or more of the following or other currently unknown factors could materially adversely affect our business and operating results.
Item 1. Business
Company Overview
Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (referred to herein as “Pilgrim’s,” “PPC,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or similar terms), which was incorporated in Texas in 1968 and reincorporated in Delaware in 1986, is the successor to a partnership founded in 1946 as a retail feed store. JBS S.A., through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries (together, “JBS”), beneficially owns 78.6% of our outstanding common stock. We are one of the largest chicken producers in the world with operations in the United States (“U.S.”), the United Kingdom (“U.K.”), Mexico, France, Puerto Rico, and the Netherlands. We are primarily engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and value-added chicken products to retailers, distributors and foodservice operators. We offer a wide range of products to our customers through strong national and international distribution channels. Pilgrim's fresh chicken products consist of refrigerated (non-frozen) whole chickens, whole cut-up chickens and selected chicken parts that are either marinated or non-marinated. The Company's prepared chicken products include fully cooked, ready-to-cook and individually frozen chicken parts, strips, nuggets and patties, some of which are either breaded or non-breaded and either marinated or non-marinated, ready-to-eat meals, multi-protein frozen foods, vegetarian foods and desserts.
We market our balanced portfolio of fresh, prepared and value-added chicken products to a diverse set of over 5,500 customers across the U.S., the U.K., Mexico and in approximately 100 other countries, with no single customer accounting for more than 10% of total sales. We have become a valuable partner to our customers and a recognized industry leader by consistently providing high-quality products and services designed to meet their needs and enhance their business. Our sales efforts are largely targeted towards the foodservice industry, principally chain restaurants and food processors, such as Chick-fil-A® and retail customers, including grocery store chains and wholesale clubs, such as Kroger®, Costco®, Publix®, and H-E-B®.
As a vertically integrated company, we control every phase of the production process, which helps us better manage food safety and quality, as well as more effectively control margins and improve customer service. As of December 31, 2017, we operate feed mills, hatcheries, processing plants and distribution centers in 14 U.S. states, the U.K., Europe, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Our plants are strategically located to ensure that customers timely receive fresh products. With our global network of approximately 5,200 growers, 39 feed mills, 50 hatcheries, 36 processing plants, 16 prepared foods cook plants, 20 distribution centers, nine rendering facilities and four pet food plants, we believe we are well-positioned to supply the growing demand for our products.
Our U.K. and Europe segment reflects the operations of Granite Holdings Sàrl and its subsidiaries (together, “Moy Park”), which we acquired on September 8, 2017. Moy Park is a leading and highly regarded U.K. food company, providing fresh, high quality and locally farmed poultry and convenience food products. Moy Park has operated in the U.K. and Europe retail market for over 50 years and delivers a range of fresh, ready-to-cook, coated and ready-to-eat poultry products to major retailers and large

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foodservice customers throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and The Netherlands. We believe that we operate one of the most efficient business models for chicken production in the U.K. and Europe.
We are one of the largest, and we believe one of the most efficient, producers and sellers of chicken in Mexico. Our presence in Mexico provides access to a market with growing demand and has enabled us to leverage our operational strengths within the region. The market for chicken products in Mexico is still developing, with most sales attributed to fresh, commodity-oriented, market price-based business. Additionally, we are an important player in the live market in Mexico. We believe our Mexico business is well-positioned to continue benefiting from these trends in the Mexican consumer market.
As of December 31, 2017, we have approximately 51,300 employees and have the capacity to process more than 45.2 million birds per week for a total of more than 13.3 billion pounds of live chicken annually. In 2017, we produced 10.0 billion pounds of chicken products, generating approximately $10.8 billion in net sales and approximately $694.6 million in net income attributable to Pilgrim’s.
On June 29, 2015, we acquired 100% of the equity of Provemex Holdings, LLC and its subsidiaries (together, “Tyson Mexico”) from Tyson Foods, Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries. Tyson Mexico is a vertically integrated poultry business based in Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. The acquired business had a production capacity of 2.9 million birds per week in its three plants and employed approximately 4,400 people at the time of acquisition. The acquisition further strengthened our strategic position in the Mexico chicken market. The Tyson Mexico operations are included in our Mexico segment.
On January 6, 2017, we acquired 100% of the membership interests of GNP from Maschhoff Family Foods, LLC for a cash purchase price of $350 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments. GNP is a vertically integrated poultry business based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The acquired business had a production capacity of 2.1 million birds per five-day work week in its two plants and employed approximately 1,500 people at the time of acquisition. The plants are located in geographic areas where Pilgrim’s did not have a presence, providing Pilgrim’s the opportunity to expand its production and customer bases. We plan to continue to leverage GNP’s operations to enhance production efficiencies. Also, the addition of GNP’s Just Bare® product lines join our existing no-antibiotics-ever and organic production capabilities, strengthening our footprint in fast-growing and higher-margin chicken segments. This acquisition further strengthens the Company’s strategic position in the U.S. chicken market. The GNP operations are included in our U.S. segment.
On September 8, 2017, we acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Granite Holdings Sàrl and its subsidiaries (together, “Moy Park”) from JBS S.A. for a cash purchase price of $301.3 million and a note payable to the seller in the amount of £562.5 million. Moy Park is one of the top-ten food companies in the U.K., Northern Ireland's largest private sector business and one of Europe's leading poultry producers. With 4 fresh processing plants, 10 prepared foods cook plants, 3 feed mills, 7 hatcheries and 1 rendering facility in the U.K., France, and The Netherlands, the acquired business processes 6.0 million birds per seven-day work week, in addition to producing around 456.0 million pounds of prepared foods per year. Moy Park currently has approximately 10,200 employees. The plants are located in geographic areas where Pilgrim’s is not currently present, providing Pilgrim’s the opportunity to expand its production and customer bases. The Moy Park operations constitutes our U.K. and Europe segment.
We operate on the basis of a 52/53-week fiscal year that ends on the Sunday falling on or before December 31. Any reference we make to a particular year (for example, 2017) applies to our fiscal year and not the calendar year. Fiscal 2017 was a 53-week fiscal year.
Our Industry
Industry Overview
The U.S. consumes more chicken than any other protein (approximately 35.3 billion pounds projected in calendar year 2018 according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA”)), and chicken is the second most consumed protein globally after pork. The U.S. is the world’s largest producer of chicken and is projected to produce approximately 42.0 billion pounds of ready-to-cook broiler meat in calendar year 2018, representing 20.8% of the total world production. Broilers are tender, young chickens suitable for broiling or roasting. Brazil and China produce the second and third most broiler meat, with 14.8% and 12.1% of the world market, respectively, according to the USDA.
According to the USDA, the export of U.S. chicken products increased at an average annual growth rate of 1.3% from 2007 through 2017. The U.S. is the second-largest exporter of broiler meat behind Brazil. The U.S. is projected to export 6.9 billion pounds in calendar year 2018, which would account for 27.9% of the total world exports and 16.8% of the total U.S. production, according to the USDA. The top five exporters are projected to control over 85.7% of the market in 2018.

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According to the USDA, chicken production in the U.S. increased from 2007 through 2017 at a compounded annual growth rate of 1.2%. The growth in chicken demand is attributable to (i) relative affordability compared to other proteins such as beef and pork, (ii) the increasingly health conscious nature of U.S. consumers, (iii) chicken’s consistent quality and versatility and (iv) its introduction on many foodservice menus. In addition, global protein demand continues to be strong, consistent with rising standards of living and a growing middle class in developing countries around the world. USDA estimates from 2017 through 2026 show an anticipated increase of global chicken production at a compounded annual growth rate of 0.8%. We believe our relationship with JBS positions us to capture a portion of those emerging markets.
Key Industry Dynamics
Pricing. Items that influence chicken pricing in the U.S. include international demand, changes in production by other broiler producing countries, input costs and the demand associated with substitute products such as beef and pork. We believe our focus on sales mix enables us to adapt to changing supply demand dynamics by adjusting our production to maximize value. We also benefit from a shorter production lifecycle of broilers compared to other proteins. While production for cattle takes approximately 28 to 39 months from breeding to slaughter and the production for pork takes 11 to 12 months, the production lifecycle for the broiler is only ten weeks.
Feed. Broilers are fed corn and soybean meal as well as certain vitamins and minerals. Corn and soybean meal accounted for approximately 45.7% and 37.0% of our feed costs, respectively, in 2017. Broiler production is significantly more efficient from a feed perspective than cattle or hog production. Approximately two pounds of feed are required for each pound of chicken, as compared to approximately seven and 3.5 pounds for cattle and hogs, respectively. We have sought to mitigate the impact of feed price volatility on our profitability by decreasing the amount of our products that are sold under longer term fixed price contracts, broadening our product portfolio and expanding the variety of contracts within our book of business.
Competitive Strengths
We believe that our competitive strengths will enable us to maintain and grow our position as a leading chicken company and to capitalize on future favorable growth opportunities:
Leading market position in the growing chicken industry. We are one of the largest chicken producers globally and a leading chicken producer in the U.S. with an approximate 17.3% market share, based on ready-to-cook production in 2017, according to WATTPoultryUSA magazine. We believe we can maintain this prominent market position as we are one of the few producers in the chicken industry that can fully satisfy the requirements of large retailers and foodservice companies due to our broad product range, national distribution, vertically integrated operations and technical capabilities. Further, our scale of operations, balanced product portfolio and a wide range of production capabilities enable us to meet both the capacity and quality requirements of our customer base. Finally, we believe we are well-positioned with our global footprint to benefit from the growth in the U.S. chicken export market.
Broad product portfolio. We have a diversified product portfolio ranging from large to small birds and from fresh to cooked to processed chicken. In addition, our prepared foods business is focused on our most profitable product lines. We believe we are well-positioned to be the primary chicken supplier for large customers due to our ability to provide consistent supply, innovate and develop new products to address consumer desires and provide competitive pricing across a diverse product portfolio. Our balanced portfolio of fresh, prepared and value-added chicken products yields a diversified sales mix, mitigating supply and market volatility and creating more consistent gross margins.
Blue chip and diverse customer base across all industry segments. We benefit from strong relationships with leading companies in every customer segment, including Chick-fil-A®, US Foods, Kroger®, Costco®, Publix®, and H-E-B®, most of whom have been doing business with us for more than five years. We sell our products to a large and diverse customer base, with over 5,500 customers, with no single one accounting for more than 10% of total sales.
Lean and focused enterprise. We are an efficient and lean organization supported by our market-driven business strategy. We have closed, idled or sold plants and distribution centers, reduced or consolidated production at other facilities, streamlined our workforce and reduced administrative and corporate expenses. In addition, we continue to seek to make significant production improvements driven by improved yields, labor, cost savings and product mix. We utilize zero-based budgeting and plant-level profit and loss analysis, driving engagement and ownership over the results at each plant. These strategic initiatives have reduced our cost base, resulting in higher and more sustainable profits. We share corporate headquarters with JBS in Greeley, Colorado, and have integrated certain corporate functions with JBS to save costs.
Experienced management team and results-oriented corporate culture. We have a proven senior management team whose tenure in the chicken industry has spanned numerous market cycles and is among the most experienced in the industry.

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Our senior management team is led by William W. Lovette, our Chief Executive Officer, who has over 30 years of experience in the chicken industry. Our management team has successfully improved and realigned our business and instilled a corporate culture focused on performance and accountability. We also benefit from management ideas, best practices and talent shared with the seasoned management team of JBS, which has over 50 years of combined experience operating protein processing facilities in South America, North America, Australia and Europe.
Relationship with JBS. We work closely with JBS management to identify areas where Pilgrim’s and JBS can achieve synergies. We share corporate headquarters with JBS in Greeley, Colorado, and have integrated certain corporate functions with JBS to save costs. In addition to cost savings through the integration of certain corporate functions and the rationalization of facilities, our relationship with JBS allows us to enjoy several advantages given its diversified international operations and strong record in commodity risk management. In addition, the expertise of JBS in managing the risk associated with volatile commodity inputs will help us to further improve our operations and manage our margins.
Business Strategy
We intend to continue growing our business and enhancing profitability by pursuing the following strategies:
Be a valued partner with our key customers. We have developed and acquired complementary markets, distributor relationships and geographic locations that have enabled us to expand our customer base and provide global distribution capabilities for all of our product lines. As a result, we believe we are one of only two U.S. chicken producers that can supply the growing demand for a broad range of price competitive standard and specialized products with well-known brand names on a nationwide basis from a single-source supplier. Additionally, we intend to leverage our innovation capabilities to develop new products along with our customers to accelerate sales and enhance the profitability of chicken products at their businesses. We plan to further enhance our industry position by optimizing our sales mix and accelerating innovation.
Relentless pursuit of operational excellence. As production and sales grow, we continue to focus on improving operating efficiencies by focusing on cost reductions, more effective processes, training and our total quality management program. Specific initiatives include:
Benchmarking live and plant costs against the industry;
Striving to be in the top 25% of the industry for yields and costs;
Fostering a culture of accountability and ownership deeper in the organization;
Conducting monthly performance reviews with senior management; and
Improving sales mix and price.
Between 2011 and 2017, these initiatives have resulted in approximately $1.1 billion of cumulative operational improvements, including from reduction of plant-related costs and improved sales mix and product yield.
Accountability and ownership culture. We have a results-oriented culture with our business strategy centered on reducing fixed costs and increasing profitability, consistent with JBS values. Our employee accountability has further increased as we have de-layered the organization through our recent restructuring and cost improvement initiatives. In addition, we continue to invest in developing our talent internally. As a result, we have a strong accountability and ownership culture. We strive to be the best managed and most respected company in our industry.
Reportable Business Segment
We operate in three reportable business segments: U.S., U.K. and Europe, and Mexico. As a producer and seller of chicken products we either produce or purchase chicken for resale in the U.S., the U.K and Europe, and Mexico. We conduct separate operations in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, Puerto Rico and Mexico; however, for geographic reporting purposes, we include Puerto Rico with our U.S. operations. See “Note 21. Business Segment and Geographic Reporting” of our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information.
Foreign Operations Risks
Our foreign operations pose special risks to our business and operations. A discussion of foreign operations risks is included in “Item 1A. Risk Factors."
Products and Markets

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Our primary product types are fresh chicken products, prepared chicken products and value-added export chicken products. We sell our fresh chicken products to the foodservice and retail markets. Our fresh chicken products consist of refrigerated (nonfrozen) whole or cut-up chicken, either pre-marinated or non-marinated and prepackaged case-ready chicken. Our case-ready chicken includes various combinations of freshly refrigerated, whole chickens and chicken parts in trays, bags or other consumer packs labeled and priced ready for the retail grocer’s fresh meat counter. Our fresh chicken sales accounted for 83.0% of our total U.S. chicken sales in 2017.
We also sell prepared chicken products, including portion-controlled breast fillets, tenderloins and strips, delicatessen products, salads, formed nuggets and patties and bone-in chicken parts. These products are sold either refrigerated or frozen and may be fully cooked, partially cooked or raw. In addition, these products are breaded or non-breaded and either pre-marinated or non-marinated. Our prepared chicken products sales accounted for 13.9% of our total U.S. chicken sales in 2017.
Export and other chicken products primarily consist of whole chickens and chicken parts sold either refrigerated for distributors in the U.S. or frozen for distribution to export markets. We sell U.S.-produced chicken products for export to Mexico, the Middle East, Asia, countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (the “CIS”) and other world markets. In the U.S., prices of these products are negotiated daily or weekly and are generally related to market prices quoted by the USDA or other public price reporting services. Prices for export sales are determined by supply and demand and local market conditions. In certain newly accessed international markets, we have established premium brands, which allow us to market our products at a premium to commodity price levels within those regions. Our export and other chicken products sales accounted for 3.1% of our total U.S. chicken sales in 2017.
Our primary customer markets consist of the foodservice and retail channels, as well as selected export and other markets.
Our foodservice market principally consists of chain restaurants, food processors, broad-line distributors and certain other institutions located throughout the continental U.S. Within this market, we service frozen, fresh and corporate accounts. Fresh and frozen chicken products are usually pre-cut to customer specifications and are often marinated to enhance value and product differentiation. Corporate accounts include further-processed and value-added products supplied to select foodservice customers, improving their ability to manage product consistency and quality in a cost efficient manner. We believe we are positioned to be the primary or secondary supplier to national and international chain restaurants who require multiple suppliers of chicken products. Additionally, we believe we are well suited to be the sole supplier for many regional chain restaurants. Regional chain restaurants often offer better margin opportunities and a growing base of business. We believe that our full-line product capabilities, high-volume production capacities, research and development expertise and extensive distribution and marketing experience are competitive strengths compared to smaller and non-vertically integrated producers.
Our retail market consists primarily of grocery store chains, wholesale clubs and other retail distributors. Our retail market products consist primarily of branded, prepackaged cut-up and whole chicken and chicken parts. We concentrate our efforts in this market on creating value for our customers through category management and supporting key customers in expanding their private label sales programs. Additionally, for many years, we have invested in both trade and retail marketing designed to establish high levels of brand name awareness and consumer preference. We utilize numerous advertising and marketing techniques to develop and strengthen trade and consumer awareness and increase brand loyalty for consumer products marketed under the Gold Kist®, County Post®, Pierce Chicken®, Pilgrim’s Pride®, Pilgrim’s® brands, and Moy Park®. We believe our efforts to achieve and maintain brand awareness and loyalty help to achieve greater price premiums than would otherwise be the case in certain markets and support and expand our product distribution. We actively seek to identify and address consumer preferences by using sophisticated qualitative and quantitative consumer research techniques in key geographic markets to discover and validate new product ideas, packaging designs and methods.
Our export and other chicken market consists primarily of customers who purchase for distribution in the U.S. or for export to Mexico, the Middle East, Asia, countries within the CIS and other world markets. Our value-added export and other chicken products, with the exception of our exported prepared chicken products, consist of whole chickens and chicken parts sold in bulk, or value-added form, either refrigerated or frozen. We believe that U.S. chicken exports will continue to grow as worldwide demand increases for high-quality, low-cost meat protein sources. We expect that worldwide demand for higher-margin prepared food products will increase over the next several years and believe our strategy of value-added export growth positions us to take advantage of this expected demand.
Historically, we have targeted international markets to generate additional demand for our dark chicken meat, for which there has been less demand in the U.S. than for white chicken meat. We have expanded our portfolio to provide prepared chicken products tailored for export to the international divisions of our U.S. chain restaurant customers, as well as newly identified customers in regions not previously accessed. Through our relationship with JBS, we have developed an international distribution channel focused on growing our tailored export program and expanding value-added products, such as all-vegetable-fed whole

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griller birds, chicken franks and further processed thigh meat. Utilizing the extensive sales network of JBS, we believe that we can accelerate the sales of value-added chicken products into these international channels.
The following table sets forth, for the periods beginning with 2013, net sales attributable to each of our primary product lines and markets served with those products. We based the table on our internal sales reports and their classification of product types.
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(In thousands)
U.S. chicken:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh chicken
$
5,700,503

 
$
4,627,137

 
$
4,701,943

 
$
4,703,993

 
$
4,123,089

Prepared chicken
950,378

 
1,269,010

 
1,672,693

 
1,787,389

 
2,046,746

Export and other chicken
213,595

 
313,827

 
358,877

 
620,082

 
715,969

Total U.S. chicken
6,864,476

 
6,209,974

 
6,733,513

 
7,111,464

 
6,885,804

U.K. and Europe chicken:
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh chicken
846,575

 
811,127

 
240,815

 

 

Prepared chicken
792,284

 
794,880

 
241,589

 

 

Export and other chicken
318,699

 
283,276

 
67,903

 

 

Total U.K. and Europe chicken
1,957,558

 
1,889,283

 
550,307

 

 

Mexico chicken
1,303,656

 
1,245,644

 
1,016,200

 
900,360

 
864,454

Total chicken
10,125,690

 
9,344,901

 
8,300,020

 
8,011,824

 
7,750,258

Other products:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S.
578,746

 
461,429

 
409,841

 
535,572

 
614,409

U.K. and Europe
38,761

 
58,158

 
22,261

 

 

Mexico
24,666

 
14,076

 
20,550

 
35,969

 
46,481

Total other products
642,173

 
533,663

 
452,652

 
571,541

 
660,890

Total net sales
$
10,767,863

 
$
9,878,564

 
$
8,752,672

 
$
8,583,365

 
$
8,411,148

The following table sets forth, beginning with 2013, the percentage of net U.S. chicken sales attributable to each of our primary product lines and the markets serviced with those products. We based the table and related discussion on our internal sales reports and their classification of product types and customers.
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
U.S. chicken:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh chicken
83.0
 
74.5
 
69.8
 
66.2
 
59.9
Prepared chicken
13.9
 
20.4
 
24.9
 
25.1
 
29.7
Export and other chicken
3.1
 
5.1
 
5.3
 
8.7
 
10.4
Total U.S. chicken
100.0
 
100.0
 
100.0
 
100.0
 
100.0
United States Operations
Product Types
Fresh Chicken Overview. Fresh chicken is an important component of our sales and accounted for $5,700.5 million, or 83.0%, of our total U.S. chicken sales in 2017 and $4,123.1 million, or 59.9%, in 2013. Most fresh chicken products are sold to established customers, based upon certain weekly or monthly market prices reported by the USDA and other public price reporting services, plus a markup, which is dependent upon the customer’s location, volume, product specifications and other factors. We believe our practices with respect to sales of fresh chicken are generally consistent with those of our competitors. The majority of these products are sold pursuant to agreements with varying terms that set a price according to formulas based on underlying chicken price markets, subject in many cases to minimum and maximum prices.

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Prepared Chicken Overview. In 2017, $950.4 million, or 13.9%, of our U.S. chicken sales were in prepared chicken products to foodservice customers and retail distributors, as compared to $2,046.7 million, or 29.7%, in 2013. The production and sale in the U.S. of prepared chicken products reduce the impact of the costs of feed ingredients on our profitability. Feed ingredient costs are the single largest component of our U.S. cost of sales, representing approximately 30.8% of our U.S. cost of sales in 2017. The production of feed ingredients is positively or negatively affected primarily by the global level of supply inventories, demand for feed ingredients, the agricultural policies of the U.S. and foreign governments and weather patterns throughout the world. As further processing is performed, feed ingredient costs become a decreasing percentage of a product’s total production cost, thereby reducing their impact on our profitability. Products sold in this form enable us to charge a premium, reduce the impact of feed ingredient costs on our profitability and improve and stabilize our profit margins.
We establish prices for our prepared chicken products based primarily upon perceived value to the customer, production costs and prices of competing products. The majority of these products are sold pursuant to agreements with varying terms that either set a fixed price for short-term periods or set a price according to formulas based on an underlying commodity market such as corn and chicken price forecasts, subject in many cases to minimum and maximum prices. Many times, these prices are dependent upon the customer’s location, volume, product specifications and other factors.
Export and Other Chicken Overview. Our export and other chicken products consist of whole chickens and chicken parts sold primarily in bulk, nonbranded form, either refrigerated to distributors in the U.S. or frozen for distribution to export markets, and branded and nonbranded prepared chicken products for distribution to export markets. In 2017, approximately $213.6 million, or 3.1%, of our total U.S. chicken sales were attributable to U.S. chicken export and other chicken products, as compared to $716.0 million, or 10.4%, in 2013.
Markets for Other Products
Presently, this category includes chicken by-products, which we convert into protein products and sell primarily to manufacturers of pet foods. In addition, many of our U.S. feed mills produce and sell some livestock feeds to local dairy farmers and livestock producers.
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
 
U.K. and Europe chicken:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh chicken
43.2
 
42.9
 
43.8
 
 
Prepared chicken
40.5
 
42.1
 
43.9
 
 
Export and other chicken
16.3
 
15.0
 
12.3
 
 
Total U.K. and Europe chicken
100.0
 
100.0
 
100.0
 
 
United Kingdom and Europe Operations

Background

On September 8, 2017, a subsidiary of the Company acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Moy Park from JBS S.A. in a common-control transaction for cash and a note payable to the seller. Moy Park is one of the top-ten food companies in the U.K., Northern Ireland's largest private sector business and one of Europe's leading poultry producers. With 4 fresh processing plants, 10 prepared foods cook plants, 3 feed mills, 7 hatcheries and 1 rendering facility in the U.K., France, and the Netherlands, Moy Park processes 6.0 million birds per seven-day work week, in addition to producing around 456.0 million pounds of prepared foods per year.

Our Moy Park operations, with plants in the U.K., France and The Netherlands generated approximately 18.2% of our net sales in 2017. We are one of the largest producers and sellers of chicken in the U.K.. We believe that we operate one of the most efficient business models for chicken production in the U.K. and Europe.

During 2016 and 2017, we invested approximately £20 million in a new poultry hatchery facility in Newark, England with an egg set capacity of 2.9 million eggs per week. The first birds were hatched from the facility in September 2017.

Product Types


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In the United Kingdom, Moy Park’s fresh chicken sales primarily consist of refrigerated and frozen whole chickens, breast fillets and bone-in chicken parts. In the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and The Netherlands, Moy Park produces further processed and prepared chicken products for sale to customers in retail, foodservice, agricultural and international distribution channels. Moy Park also sells a range of ready-to-cook, coated and ready-to-eat chicken products to major retailers and large foodservice customers. Moy Park maintains a new product development team and an executive chef to continue to develop new ideas for value added products across its range, and share those insights with its customers in order to drive sales. Moy Park has included new innovative products in its portfolio every year during the last five years with a growing new product development pipeline.

In recent years, Moy Park has built strong brands with high levels of brand recognition in the markets in which such brands are sold, including “Moy Park,” “Castle Lea,” “O’Kane Limited” and the Moy Park’s “Jamie Oliver” range. Moy Park believes the development of its brands are important as it provides customers with confidence in the quality and consistency of its products. Brand marketing is focused on establishing its brands through consistent quality and product innovation as well as developing relationships with key customers. Moy Park believes that its brands can be expanded throughout Europe, which provides the opportunity to sell higher margin products in its traditional markets.

Markets

Customers for Moy Park’s fresh and further processed and prepared chicken products include: national and regional retailers (including grocery supermarket chains, independent grocers and club stores) and wholesale distributors; international retailers and wholesale distributors; and the foodservice industry, including foodservice distributors, fast food and other restaurants.
Mexico Operations
Background
Our Mexico operations generated approximately 12.1% of our net sales in 2017. We are one of the largest producers and sellers of chicken in Mexico. We believe that we operate one of the more efficient business models for chicken production in Mexico.
On June 29, 2015, we acquired, indirectly through certain of our Mexican subsidiaries, 100% of the equity of Tyson Mexico from Tyson Foods, Inc. and certain of its subsidiaries for cash. Tyson Mexico is a vertically integrated poultry business based in Gómez Palacio, Durango, Mexico. The acquired business has a production capacity of 2.9 million birds per week in its three plants. The acquisition further strengthened our strategic position in the Mexico chicken market.
During 2014 and 2015, we invested approximately $12.5 million in the first phase of a new poultry processing complex in Veracruz, Mexico. We initiated live production operations at this facility in September 2015.
Product Types
While the market for chicken products in Mexico is less developed than in the U.S., with sales attributed to fewer, simpler products, we believe we have been successful in differentiating our products through high-quality client service and product improvements. Additionally, we are an important player in the live market in Mexico.
Markets
We sell our chicken products primarily to wholesalers, large restaurant chains, fast food accounts and supermarket chains, and also engage in direct retail distribution in selected markets. Our largest presence is by far in the central states of the country where we have been able to gain market share. Our presence in Mexico reaches approximately 75.4% of the population.
Key Customers
Our two largest customers accounted for approximately 11.0% and 11.6% of our net sales in 2017 and 2016, respectively. No single customer accounted for ten percent or more of our net sales in either 2017 or 2016.
Competition
The chicken industry is highly competitive. We are one of the largest chicken producers in the world and we believe our relationship with JBS enhances our competitive position. In the U.S. and Mexico, we compete principally with other vertically integrated poultry companies. However, there is some competition with non-vertically integrated further processors in the U.S.

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prepared chicken business. We believe vertical integration generally provides significant, long-term cost and quality advantages over non-vertically integrated further processors.
In general, the competitive factors in the U.S. chicken industry include price, product quality, product development, brand identification, breadth of product line and customer service. Competitive factors vary by major market. In the U.S. retail market, we believe that product quality, brand awareness, customer service and price are the primary bases of competition. In the foodservice market, competition is based on consistent quality, product development, service and price. The export market is competitive on a global level based on price, product quality, product tailoring, brand identification and customer service. Competitive factors vary by market and may be impacted further by trade restrictions, sanitary and phyto-sanitary issues, brand awareness and the relative strength or weakness of the U.S. dollar against local currencies. We believe that product customization, service and price are the most critical competitive factors for export sales.
In Mexico, where product differentiation has traditionally been limited, we believe product quality and price have been the most critical competitive factors.
Regulation and Environmental Matters
The chicken industry is subject to government regulation, particularly in the health, workplace safety and environmental areas, including provisions relating to the discharge of materials into the environment, by the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) and state and local regulatory authorities in the U.S. and by similar governmental agencies in Mexico. Our chicken processing facilities in the U.S. are subject to on-site examination, inspection and regulation by the USDA. The FDA inspects the production of our feed mills in the U.S. Our Mexican food processing facilities and feed mills are subject to on-site examination, inspection and regulation by government agencies that perform functions similar to those performed by the USDA and FDA.
Our operations are subject to extensive regulation by the EPA and other state and local authorities relating to handling and discharge of waste water, storm water, air emissions, treatment, storage and disposal of wastes, handling of hazardous substances and remediation of contaminated soil, surface water and groundwater. Moy Park’s operations in the U.K. and Europe are subject to a number of local, national and regional laws and other requirements relating to the protection of the environment and the safety and health of personnel and the public. Our Mexican operations also are subject to extensive regulation by Mexican environmental authorities. The EPA, Mexican, U.K. and European environmental authorities and/or other U.S. or Mexican state and local authorities may, from time to time, adopt revisions to environmental rules and regulations, and/or changes in the terms and conditions of our environmental permits, with which we must comply. Compliance with existing or new environmental requirements, including more stringent limitations imposed or expected in recently-renewed or soon-to be renewed environmental permits, may require capital expenditures and operating expenses which may be significant. Our operations are also subject to regulation by the EPA, OSHA and other state, federal and local regulatory authorities regarding the treatment and disposal of agricultural and food processing wastes, the use and maintenance of refrigeration systems, including ammonia-based chillers, noise, odor and dust management, the operation of mechanized processing equipment, and other operations.
Some of our facilities have been operating for many years, and were built before current environmental, health and safety standards were imposed and/or in areas that recently have become subject to residential and commercial development pressures. We are upgrading wastewater treatment facilities at a number of our facilities, either pursuant to consent agreements with regulatory authorities or on a voluntary basis in anticipation of future permit requirements. We do not anticipate that the capital expenditures associated with these upgrades, which will be spread over a number of years, will be material.
We have from time to time had incidents at our plants involving worker health and safety. These have included ammonia releases due to mechanical failures in chiller systems and worker injuries and fatalities involving processing equipment and vehicle accidents. We have taken preventive measures in response.
Some of our properties have been impacted by contamination from spills or other releases, and we have incurred costs to remediate such contamination. In addition, in the past we acquired businesses with operations such as pesticide and fertilizer production that involved greater use of hazardous materials and generation of more hazardous wastes than our current operations. While many of those operations have been sold or closed, some environmental laws impose strict and, in certain circumstances, joint and several liability for costs of investigation and remediation of contaminated sites on current and former owners and operators of the sites, and on persons who arranged for disposal of wastes at such sites. In addition, current owners or operators of such contaminated sites may seek to recover cleanup costs from us based on past operations or contractual indemnifications. See “Item 1A. Risk Factors” for risks associated with compliance with existing or changing environmental requirement.

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We anticipate increased regulation by the USDA concerning food safety, by the FDA concerning the use of medications in feed and by the EPA and various other state agencies concerning discharges to the environment. Although we do not currently anticipate that such increased regulation will have a material adverse effect upon us, new environmental, health and safety requirements that are more stringent than we anticipate, stricter interpretations of existing environmental requirements, or obligations related to the investigation or clean-up of contaminated sites may materially affect our business or operations in the future.
Employees
As of December 31, 2017, we employed approximately 30,900 persons in the U.S., approximately 10,200 persons in Mexico and approximately 10,200 persons in the U.K. and Europe. Approximately 37.8% of the Company’s employees were covered under collective bargaining agreements. Substantially all employees covered under collective bargaining agreements are covered under agreements that expire in 2018 or later. We have not experienced any labor-related work stoppage at any location in over ten years. We believe our relationship with our employees and union leadership is satisfactory. At any given time, we will likely be in some stage of contract negotiations with various collective bargaining units. In the absence of agreements, we may become subject to labor disruption at one or more of these locations, which could have an adverse effect on our financial results.
Trademarks
We own registered trademarks which are used in connection with our activity in our business. The trademarks are important to the overall marketing and branding of our products. All major trademarks in our business are registered. In part, our success can be attributed to the existence and continued protection of these trademarks.
Seasonality
The demand for our chicken products generally is greatest during the spring and summer months and lowest during the winter months.
Financial Information about Foreign Operations
We have foreign operations in Mexico, the U.K. and Europe. Geographic financial information is set forth in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.” For additional information, see “Note 21. Business Segment and Geographic Reporting” of our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements included in this annual report.
Available Information
The Company’s Internet website is www.pilgrims.com. The Company makes available, free of charge, through its Internet website, the Company’s annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, directors and officers Forms 3, 4 and 5, and amendments to those reports, as soon as reasonably practicable after electronically filing such materials with, or furnishing them to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. The public may read and copy any materials that the Company files with the Securities and Exchange Commission at its Public Reference Room at 100 F Street, NE, Washington, DC 20549 and may obtain information about the operation of the Public Information Room by calling the Securities and Exchange Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330.
In addition, the Company makes available, through its Internet website, the Company’s Business Code of Conduct and Ethics, Corporate Governance Guidelines and the written charter of the Audit Committee, each of which is available in print to any stockholder who requests it by contacting the Secretary of the Company at 1770 Promontory Circle, Greeley, Colorado 80634-9038. Information contained on the Company’s website is not included as part of, or incorporated by reference into, this annual report.
Executive Officers
Set forth below is certain information relating to our current executive officers:
Name
 
Age
 
Positions
William W. Lovette
 
58

 
President and Chief Executive Officer
Fabio Sandri
 
46

 
Chief Financial Officer

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William W. Lovette joined Pilgrim’s as President and Chief Executive Officer on January 3, 2011. He brings more than 30 years of industry leadership experience to Pilgrim’s. He previously served two years as President and Chief Operating Officer of Case Foods, Inc. Before joining Case Foods, Inc., Mr. Lovette spent 25 years with Tyson Foods in various roles in senior management, including President of its International Business Unit, President of its Foodservice Business Unit and Senior Group Vice President of Poultry and Prepared Foods. Mr. Lovette earned a B.S. degree from Texas A&M University. In addition, he is a graduate of Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program.
Fabio Sandri has served as the Chief Financial Officer for Pilgrim’s since June 2011. From April 2010 to June 2011, Mr. Sandri served as the Chief Financial Officer of Estacio Participações, the private post-secondary educational institution in Brazil. From November 2008 until April 2010, he was the Chief Financial Officer of Imbra SA, a provider of dental services based in Sao Paolo, Brazil. Commencing in 2005 through October 2008, he was employed by Braskem S.A., a New York Stock Exchange-listed petrochemical company headquartered in Camaçari, Brazil, first from 2005 to 2007 as its strategy director, then from 2007 until his departure as its corporate controller. He earned his Masters in Business Administration in 2001 from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and a degree in electrical engineering in 1993 from Escola Politécnica da Universidade de São Paulo.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
The following risk factors should be read carefully in connection with evaluating our business and the forward-looking information contained in this annual report on Form 10-K. Any of the following risks could materially adversely affect our business, operations, industry or financial position or our future financial performance. While we believe we have identified and discussed below all risk factors affecting our business that we believe are material, there may be additional risks and uncertainties that are not presently known or that are not currently believed to be significant that may adversely affect our business, operations, industry, financial position and financial performance in the future.
Industry cyclicality can affect our earnings, especially due to fluctuations in commodity prices of feed ingredients and chicken.
Profitability in the chicken industry is materially affected by the commodity prices of feed ingredients and market prices of chicken, which are determined by supply and demand factors. As a result, the chicken industry is subject to cyclical earnings fluctuations.
The price of feed ingredients is positively or negatively affected primarily by the global level of supply inventories and demand for feed ingredients, the agricultural policies of the U.S. and foreign governments and weather patterns throughout the world. In particular, weather patterns often change agricultural conditions in an unpredictable manner. A significant change in weather patterns could affect supplies of feed ingredients, as well as both the industry’s and our ability to obtain feed ingredients, grow chickens or deliver products. More recently, feed prices have been impacted by increased demand both domestically for ethanol and globally for protein production, as well as grain production levels outside the U.S. We have recently benefited from low market prices for feed ingredients, but market prices for feed ingredients remain volatile. Consequently, there can be no assurance that the price of corn or soybean meal will not continue to rise as a result of, among other things, increasing demand for these products around the world and alternative uses of these products, such as ethanol and biodiesel production.
Volatility in feed ingredient prices has had, and may continue to have, a materially adverse effect on our operating results, which has resulted in, and may continue to result in, additional noncash expenses due to impairment of the carrying amounts of certain of our assets. We periodically seek, to the extent available, to enter into advance purchase commitments or financial derivative contracts for the purchase of feed ingredients in an effort to manage our feed ingredient costs. The use of these instruments may not be successful. In addition, we have not designated the derivative financial instruments that we have purchased to mitigate commodity purchase exposures as cash flow hedges. Therefore, we recognize changes in the fair value of these derivative financial instruments immediately in earnings. Unexpected changes in the fair value of these instruments could adversely affect the results of our operations. Although we have sought to mitigate the impact of feed price volatility on our profitability by decreasing the amount of our products that are sold under longer term fixed price contracts, these changes will not eliminate the impact of changes in feed ingredient prices on our profitability and would prevent us from profiting on such contracts during times of declining market prices of chicken.
Outbreaks of livestock diseases in general and poultry diseases in particular, including avian influenza, can significantly affect our ability to conduct our operations and demand for our products.
We take precautions designed to ensure that our flocks are healthy and that our processing plants and other facilities operate in a sanitary and environmentally-sound manner. However, events beyond our control, such as the outbreaks of disease, either in our own flocks or elsewhere, could significantly affect demand for our products or our ability to conduct our operations.

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Furthermore, an outbreak of disease could result in governmental restrictions on the import and export of our fresh chicken or other products to or from our suppliers, facilities or customers, or require us to destroy one or more of our flocks. This could also result in the cancellation of orders by our customers and create adverse publicity that may have a material adverse effect on our ability to market our products successfully and on our business, reputation and prospects.
For example, there was substantial publicity in 2015 regarding highly pathogenic avian influenza (“HPAI”) H5 in the Pacific, Central, and Mississippi flyways (or migratory bird paths) of North America. The disease was found in wild birds, as well as in a few backyard and commercial poultry flocks. The CDC considers the risk to people from these HPAI H5 infections to be low. No human cases of these HPAI H5 viruses have been detected. In its response effort, the USDA coordinated closely with state officials in affected and bordering states and other federal departments on avian influenza surveillance, reporting and control efforts. The USDA also coordinated with Canada on the HPAI H5 findings that were close to the northern U.S. border. Furthermore, there was substantial publicity in 2012 and 2013 regarding a highly pathogenic strain of avian influenza, known as H7N3, which affected several states in central Mexico. There was also substantial publicity in 2013 regarding a low pathogenic strain of avian influenza, known as H7N9, which affected eastern and northern China in and around the cities of Shanghai and Beijing.
There have been outbreaks of other low pathogenic strains of avian influenza in the U.S., and in Mexico outbreaks of both high and low-pathogenic strains of avian influenza are a fairly common occurrence. Historically, the outbreaks of low pathogenic strains of avian influenza have not generated the same level of concern, or received the same level of publicity or been accompanied by the same reduction in demand for poultry products in certain countries as that associated with highly pathogenic strains such as HPAI H5 and H7N3 or highly infectious strains such as H7N9. Even if no further highly pathogenic or highly contagious strains of avian influenza are confirmed in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe or Mexico, there can be no assurance that outbreaks of these strains in other countries will not materially adversely affect demand for U.S.-produced poultry internationally and/or U.S.-produced, the U.K. and Europe produced or Mexico-produced poultry domestically, and, if any of these strains were to spread to either the U.S., the U.K. and Europe or Mexico, there can be no assurance that it would not significantly affect our ability to conduct our operations and/or demand for our products, in each case in a manner having a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and/or prospects.
If our poultry products become contaminated, we may be subject to product liability claims and product recalls.
Poultry products may be subject to contamination by disease-producing organisms, or pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella and generic E.coli. These pathogens are generally found in the environment, and, as a result, there is a risk that, as a result of food processing, they could be present in our processed poultry products. These pathogens can also be introduced as a result of improper handling at the further processing, foodservice or consumer level. These risks may be controlled, although not eliminated, by adherence to good manufacturing practices and finished product testing. We have little, if any, control over proper handling once the product has been shipped. Illness and death may result if the pathogens are not eliminated at the further processing, foodservice or consumer level. Even an inadvertent shipment of contaminated products is a violation of law and may lead to increased risk of exposure to product liability claims, product recalls and increased scrutiny by federal and state regulatory agencies and may have a material adverse effect on our business, reputation and prospects.
Product liability claims or product recalls can adversely affect our business reputation, expose us to increased scrutiny by federal and state regulators and may not be fully covered by insurance.
The packaging, marketing and distribution of food products entail an inherent risk of product liability and product recall and the resultant adverse publicity. We may be subject to significant liability if the consumption of any of our products causes injury, illness or death. We could be required to recall certain products in the event of contamination or damage to the products. In addition to the risks of product liability or product recall due to deficiencies caused by our production or processing operations, we may encounter the same risks if any third party tampers with our products. We cannot assure you that we will not be required to perform product recalls, or that product liability claims will not be asserted against us, in the future. Any claims that may be made may create adverse publicity that would have a material adverse effect on our ability to market our products successfully or on our business, reputation, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
If our poultry products become contaminated, we may be subject to product liability claims and product recalls. There can be no assurance that any litigation or reputational injury associated with product recalls will not have a material adverse effect on our ability to market our products successfully or on our business, reputation, prospects, financial condition and results of operations.
We currently maintain insurance with respect to certain of these risks, including product liability insurance, business interruption insurance and general liability insurance, but in many cases such insurance is expensive, difficult to obtain and no assurance can be given that such insurance can be maintained in the future on acceptable terms, or in sufficient amounts to protect us against losses due to any such events, or at all. Moreover, even though our insurance coverage may be designed to protect us

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from losses attributable to certain events, it may not adequately protect us from liability and expenses we incur in connection with such events.
We may not be able to successfully integrate the operations of companies we acquire, including Moy Park or GNP, or benefit from growth opportunities.
We intend to pursue additional selected growth opportunities in the future. These opportunities, including the Moy Park acquisition and the GNP acquisition, may expose us to successor liability relating to actions involving any acquired entities, their respective management or contingent liabilities incurred prior to our involvement and will expose us to liabilities associated with ongoing operations, in particular to the extent we are unable to adequately and safely manage such acquired operations. A material liability associated with these types of opportunities, or our failure to successfully integrate any acquired entities into our business, could adversely affect our reputation and have a material adverse effect on us.
Undisclosed liabilities from our acquisitions may harm our financial condition and operating results. If we make acquisitions in the future, these transactions may be structured in such a manner that would result in our assumption of undisclosed liabilities or liabilities not identified during our pre-acquisition due diligence. These obligations and liabilities could adversely affect our financial condition and operating results.
We may not be able to successfully integrate any growth opportunities we may undertake in the future, including the Moy Park acquisition and the GNP acquisition, or successfully implement appropriate operational, financial and administrative systems and controls to achieve the benefits that we expect to result therefrom. These risks include: (1) failure of the acquired entities to achieve expected results; (2) possible inability to retain or hire key personnel of the acquired entities; and (3) possible inability to achieve expected synergies and/or economies of scale. In addition, the process of integrating businesses could cause interruption of, or loss of momentum in, the activities of our existing business. The diversion of our management’s attention and any delays or difficulties encountered in connection with the integration of these businesses could adversely affect our business, results of operations, prospects and the market price of the notes.
Competition in the chicken industry with other vertically integrated poultry companies may make us unable to compete successfully in this industry, which could adversely affect our business.
The chicken industry is highly competitive. In the U.S. and Mexico, we primarily compete with other vertically integrated chicken companies.
In general, the competitive factors in the U.S. chicken industry include price, product quality, product development, brand identification, breadth of product line and customer service. Competitive factors vary by major market. In the foodservice market, competition is based on consistent quality, product development, service and price. In the U.S. retail market, we believe that competition is based on product quality, brand awareness, customer service and price. Further, there is some competition with non-vertically integrated further processors in the prepared chicken business. In Mexico, where product differentiation has traditionally been limited, we believe product quality and price have been the most critical competitive factors.
The loss of one or more of our largest customers could adversely affect our business.
Our two largest customers accounted for approximately 11.0% of our net sales in 2017. Our business could suffer significant setbacks in revenues and operating income if we lost one or more of our largest customers, or if our customers’ plans and/or markets should change significantly.

Our foreign operations pose special risks to our business and operations.
We have significant operations and assets located in Mexico and Europe and may participate in or acquire operations and assets in other foreign countries in the future. Foreign operations are subject to a number of special risks such as currency exchange rate fluctuations, trade barriers, exchange controls, expropriation and changes in laws and policies, including tax laws and laws governing foreign-owned operations.
Currency exchange rate fluctuations have adversely affected us in the past. Exchange rate fluctuations or one or more other risks may have a material adverse effect on our business or operations in the future.
Our operations in Mexico are conducted through subsidiaries organized under the laws of Mexico. Claims of creditors of our subsidiaries, including trade creditors, will generally have priority as to the assets of our subsidiaries over our claims. Additionally, the ability of our Mexican subsidiaries to make payments and distributions to us may be limited by the terms of our Mexico credit facility and will be subject to, among other things, Mexican law. In the past, these laws have not had a material adverse effect on the ability of our Mexican subsidiaries to make these payments and distributions. However, laws such as these

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may have a material adverse effect on the ability of our Mexican subsidiaries to make these payments and distributions in the future.
The terms of Moy Park’s indenture restrict Moy Park’s ability and the ability of certain of Moy Park’s subsidiaries to, among other things, make payments and distributions to us. These restrictions may have a material adverse effect on Moy Park’s ability to make these payments and distributions in the future.
Disruptions in international markets and distribution channels could adversely affect our business.
Historically, we have targeted international markets to generate additional demand for our products. In particular, given U.S. customers’ general preference for white meat, we have targeted international markets for the sale of dark chicken meat, specifically leg quarters, which are a natural by-product of our U.S. operations’ concentration on prepared chicken products. As part of this initiative, we have created a significant international distribution network into several markets in Mexico, the Middle East, Asia and countries within the Commonwealth of Independent States (the “CIS”). Our success in these markets may be, and our success in recent periods has been, adversely affected by disruptions in chicken export markets. For example, dozens of countries, including Mexico, Canada, China, Angola and South Korea, imposed either partial or full bans on the importation of poultry produced in the U.S. after an outbreak of HPAI H5 avian influenza was confirmed in 2015. Additionally, China imposed anti-dumping and countervailing duties on the U.S. chicken producers in 2010, which have deterred Chinese importers from purchases of U.S.-origin chicken products. Russia also banned the importation of chicken and other agricultural products from the U.S. and certain other western countries in August 2014 in retaliation for sanctions imposed by the U.S. and Europe on Russia over its actions in Ukraine.
A significant risk is disruption due to import restrictions and tariffs, other trade protection measures, and import or export licensing requirements. In addition, disruptions may be caused by outbreaks of disease such as avian influenza, either in our flocks or elsewhere in the world, and resulting changes in consumer preferences.
One or more of these or other disruptions in the international markets and distribution channels could adversely affect our business.
Regulation, present and future, is a constant factor affecting our business.
Our operations will continue to be subject to federal, state and local governmental regulation, including in the health, safety and environmental areas. Changes in laws or regulations or the application thereof regarding areas such as wage and hour and environmental compliance may lead to government enforcement actions and resulting litigation by private litigants.
In addition, unknown matters, new laws and regulations, or stricter interpretations of existing laws or regulations may also materially affect our business or operations in the future.
New immigration legislation or increased enforcement efforts in connection with existing immigration legislation could cause the costs of doing business to increase, cause us to change the way we conduct our business or otherwise disrupt our operations.
Immigration reform continues to attract significant attention in the public arena and the U.S. Congress. If new federal immigration legislation is enacted or if states in which we do business enact immigration laws, such laws may contain provisions that could make it more difficult or costly for us to hire U.S. citizens and/or legal immigrant workers. Additionally, there may be uncertainty as to the position the U.S. will take with respect to immigration following the 2016 U.S. presidential election and related change in the U.S. political agenda. In such case, we may incur additional costs to run our business or may have to change the way we conduct our operations, either of which could have a material adverse effect on our business, operating results and financial condition. Also, despite our past and continuing efforts to hire only U.S. citizens and/or persons legally authorized to work in the U.S., we may be unable to ensure that all of our employees are U.S. citizens and/or persons legally authorized to work in the U.S. No assurances can be given that enforcement efforts by governmental authorities will not disrupt a portion of our workforce or operations at one or more facilities, thereby negatively impacting our business. Also, no assurance can be given that further enforcement efforts by governmental authorities will not result in the assessment of fines that could adversely affect our financial position, operating results or cash flows.
Loss of essential employees could have a significant negative impact on our business.
Our success is largely dependent on the skills, experience, and efforts of our management and other employees. The loss of the services of one or more members of our senior management or of numerous employees with essential skills could have a

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negative effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. If we are not able to retain or attract talented, committed individuals to fill vacant positions when needs arise, it may adversely affect our ability to achieve our business objectives.
Our performance depends on favorable labor relations with our employees and our compliance with labor laws. Any deterioration of those relations or increase in labor costs due to our compliance with labor laws could adversely affect our business.
As of December 31, 2017, we employed approximately 30,900 persons in the U.S.,approximately 10,200 persons in Mexico and approximately 10,200 persons in the U.K. and Europe. Approximately 37.8% of the Company’s employees were covered under collective bargaining agreements. Substantially all employees covered under collective bargaining agreements are covered under agreements that expire in 2018 or later. We have not experienced any labor-related work stoppage at any location in over ten years. We believe our relationship with our employees and union leadership is satisfactory. At any given time, we will likely be in some stage of contract negotiations with various collective bargaining units. In the absence of agreements, we may become subject to labor disruption at one or more of these locations, which could have an adverse effect on our financial results.
Extreme weather, natural disasters or other events beyond our control could negatively impact our business.
Bioterrorism, fire, pandemic, extreme weather or natural disasters, including droughts, floods, excessive cold or heat, hurricanes or other storms, could impair the health or growth of our flocks, production or availability of feed ingredients, or interfere with our operations due to power outages, fuel shortages, damage to our production and processing facilities or disruption of transportation channels, among other things. Any of these factors could have an adverse effect on our financial results.
We may face significant costs for compliance with existing or changing environmental, health and safety requirements and for potential environmental obligations relating to current or discontinued operations.
Our operations are subject to extensive and increasingly stringent federal, state, local and foreign laws and regulations pertaining to the protection of the environment, including those relating to the discharge of materials into the environment, the handling, treatment and disposal of wastes and remediation of soil and groundwater contamination. Failure to comply with these requirements could have serious consequences for us, including criminal as well as civil and administrative penalties, claims for property damage, personal injury and damage to natural resources and negative publicity. Compliance with existing or changing environmental requirements, including more stringent limitations imposed or expected to be imposed in recently-renewed or soon-to be renewed environmental permits, will require capital expenditures for installation of new or upgraded pollution control equipment at some of our facilities.
Operations at many of our facilities require the treatment and disposal of wastewater, stormwater and agricultural and food processing wastes, the use and maintenance of refrigeration systems, including ammonia-based chillers, noise, odor and dust management, the operation of mechanized processing equipment, and other operations that potentially could affect the environment, health and safety. Some of our facilities have been operating for many years, and were built before current environmental standards were imposed, and/or in areas that recently have become subject to residential and commercial development pressures. Failure to comply with current and future environmental, health and safety standards could result in the imposition of fines and penalties, and we have been subject to such sanctions from time to time. We are upgrading wastewater treatment facilities at a number of these locations, either pursuant to consent agreements with regulatory authorities or on a voluntary basis in anticipation of future permit requirements.
In the past, we have acquired businesses with operations such as pesticide and fertilizer production that involved greater use of hazardous materials and generation of more hazardous wastes than our current operations. While many of those operations have been sold or closed, some environmental laws impose strict and, in certain circumstances, joint and several liability for costs of investigation and remediation of contaminated sites on current and former owners and operators of the sites, and on persons who arranged for disposal of wastes at such sites. In addition, current owners or operators of such contaminated sites may seek to recover cleanup costs from us based on past operations or contractual indemnifications.
New environmental, health and safety requirements, stricter interpretations of existing requirements, or obligations related to the investigation or clean-up of contaminated sites, may materially affect our business or operations in the future.

JBS USA beneficially owns a majority of our common stock and has the ability to control the vote on most matters brought before the holders of our common stock.

JBS USA beneficially owns a majority of the shares and voting power of our common stock and is entitled to appoint a majority of the members of our Board of Directors. As a result, JBS USA will, subject to restrictions on its voting power and actions in a stockholders agreement between JBS USA and us and our organization documents, have the ability to control our

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management, policies and financing decisions, elect a majority of the members of our Board of Directors at the annual meeting and control the vote on most matters coming before the holders of our common stock.
Under the stockholders agreement between JBS USA and us, JBS USA has the ability to elect up to six members of our Board of Directors and the other holders of our common stock have the ability to elect up to three members of our Board of Directors. If the percentage of our outstanding common stock owned by JBS USA exceeds 80%, then JBS USA would have the ability to elect one additional member of our Board of Directors while the other holders of our common stock would have the ability to elect one less member of our Board of Directors.
J&F Investimentos S.A. is investigating improper payments made in Brazil in connection with admissions of illicit conduct to the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor’s Office and the outcome of this investigation and related investigations by the Brazilian government could have a material adverse effect on us.
On May 3, 2017, certain officers of J&F Investimentos S.A. (“J&F,” and the companies controlled by J&F, the “J&F Group”) (including two former directors of the Company), a company organized in Brazil and an indirect controlling stockholder of the Company, entered into plea bargain agreements (the "Plea Bargain Agreements") with the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor's Office (Ministério Público Federal) ("MPF") in connection with certain illicit conduct involving improper payments made to Brazilian politicians, government officials and other individuals in Brazil committed by or on behalf of J&F and certain J&F Group companies. The details of such illicit conduct are set forth in separate annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements, and include admissions of improper payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil over the last 10 years in exchange for receiving, or attempting to receive, favorable treatment for certain J&F Group companies in Brazil.
Pursuant to the terms of the Plea Bargain Agreements, the MPF agreed to grant immunity to the officers in exchange for such officers agreeing, among other considerations, to: (1) pay fines totaling R$225.0 million; (2) cooperate with the MPF, including providing supporting evidence of the illicit conduct identified in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements; and (3) present any previously undisclosed illicit conduct within 120 days following the execution of the Plea Bargain Agreements as long as the description of such conduct had not been omitted in bad faith. In addition, the Plea Bargain Agreements provide that the MPF may terminate any Plea Bargain Agreement and request that the Supreme Court of Brazil (Supremo Tribunal Federal) ("STF") ratify such termination if any illicit conduct is identified that was not included in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements.
On June 5, 2017, J&F, in its role as the controlling shareholder of the J&F Group, entered into a leniency agreement (the "Leniency Agreement") with the MPF, whereby J&F assumed responsibility for the conduct that was described in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements. In connection with the Leniency Agreement, J&F has agreed to pay a fine of R$10.3 billion, adjusted for inflation, over a 25- year period. In exchange, the MPF agreed not to initiate or propose any criminal, civil or administrative actions against J&F, the companies of the J&F Group or those officers of J&F with respect to such conduct. Pursuant to the terms of the Leniency Agreement, if the Plea Bargain Agreement is annulled by the STF, then the Leniency Agreement may also be terminated by the Fifth Chamber of Coordination and Reviews of the MPF or, solely with respect to the criminal related provisions of the Leniency Agreement, by the 10th Federal Court of the Federal District in Brasilia, the authorities responsible for the ratification of the Leniency Agreement.
On August 24, 2017, the Fifth Chamber ratified the Leniency Agreement. On September 8, 2017, the 10th Federal Court ratified the Leniency Agreement. In compliance with the terms of the Leniency Agreement, J&F is conducting an internal investigation involving improper payments made in Brazil by or on behalf of J&F, certain companies of the J&F Group and certain officers of J&F (including two former directors of the Company). J&F has engaged outside advisors to assist in conducting the investigation, including an assessment as to whether any of the misconduct disclosed to Brazilian authorities had any connection to the Company, or resulted in a violation of U.S. law. The internal investigation is ongoing and the Company is fully cooperating with J&F in connection with the investigation. We cannot predict when the investigation will be completed or the results of the investigation, including the outcome or impact of any government investigations or any resulting litigation.
On September 8, 2017, at the request of the MPF, the STF issued an order temporarily revoking the immunity from prosecution previously granted to Joesley Mendonça Batista and another executive of J&F in connection with the Plea Bargain Agreements. The MPF requested the revocation of their immunity following public disclosure of certain voice recordings involving them in which they discussed certain alleged illicit activities the MPF claims were not covered by the annexes to their respective Plea Bargain Agreements. On September 10, 2017, Joesley Mendonça Batista voluntarily turned himself into police in Brazil. On September 11, 2017, the 10th Federal Court suspended its ratification of the criminal provisions of the Leniency Agreement as a result of the STF's temporary revocation of Joesley Mendonça Batista immunity under his Plea Bargain Agreement. On October 11, 2017, Judge Vallisney de Souza of the 10th Federal Court revalidated the criminal provisions of the Leniency Agreement.
We cannot predict whether the Plea Bargain Agreements will be upheld or terminated by the STF, and, if terminated, whether the Leniency Agreement will be also terminated by either the Fifth Chamber and/or the 10th Federal Court, and to what

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extent. If the Leniency Agreement is terminated, in whole or in part, as a result of any Plea Bargain Agreement being terminated, this may materially adversely affect the public perception or reputation of the J&F Group, including the Company, and could have a material adverse effect on the J&F Group's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Furthermore, the termination of the Leniency Agreement may cause the termination of certain stabilization agreements entered into by JBS S.A. and certain of its subsidiaries, which would permit the lenders of the debt that is the subject to the terms of the stabilization agreements to accelerate their debt, which could have a material adverse effect on JBS S.A. and its subsidiaries (including the Company).
Separately, Wesley Mendonça Batista (the former Chief Executive Officer of JBS S.A.) was arrested on September 13, 2017, as a result of a separate investigation by Brazil’s federal police alleging that Joesley Mendonça Batista and Wesley Mendonça Batista carried out insider trading transactions involving the sale of shares of JBS S.A. and foreign exchange futures contracts prior to the announcement of the Plea Bargain Agreements. The Securities and Exchange Commission of Brazil (Comissão de Valores Mobiliários) is also investigating these insider trading transactions. On September 21, 2017, the Brazilian federal police formally requested that the federal prosecutor bring charges against Joesley Mendonça Batista and Wesley Mendonça Batista as a result of this investigation. These investigations, possible indictments and any further developments in this matter may materially adversely affect the public perception or reputation of JBS S.A. and its subsidiaries (including the Company) and could have a material adverse effect on JBS S.A. and its subsidiaries (including the Company).
Our operations are subject to general risks of litigation.
We are involved on an ongoing basis in litigation relating to alleged antitrust violations or arising in the ordinary course of business or otherwise. For example, between September 2, 2016 and October 13, 2016, ten purported class action lawsuits were brought against Pilgrim’s and 13 other producers by and on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of broiler chickens. The complaints, which were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, seek, among other relief, treble damages for an alleged conspiracy among defendants to reduce output and increase prices of broiler chickens from the period of January 2008 to the present. See “Item 3. Legal Proceedings.” Trends in litigation may include class actions involving consumers, shareholders, employees or injured persons, and claims relating to commercial, labor, employment, antitrust, securities or environmental matters. Litigation trends and the outcome of litigation cannot be predicted with certainty, and adverse litigation trends and outcomes could result material damages, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to anti-corruption laws in the jurisdictions in which we operate, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the UK Bribery Act.
We are subject to a number of anti-corruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and the UK Bribery Act.
The FCPA and similar anti-bribery laws generally prohibit companies and their intermediaries from making improper payments or improperly providing anything of value to foreign officials, directly or indirectly, for the purpose of obtaining or keeping business and/or other benefits. Some of these laws have legal effect outside the jurisdictions in which they are adopted under certain circumstances. The FCPA also requires maintenance of adequate record-keeping and internal accounting practices to accurately reflect transactions. Under the FCPA, companies operating in the United States may be held liable for actions taken by their strategic or local partners or representatives.
The UK Bribery Act is broader in scope than the FCPA in that it directly prohibits commercial bribery (i.e. bribing others than government officials) in addition to bribery of government officials and it does not recognize certain exceptions, notably for facilitation payments, that are permitted by the FCPA. The UK Bribery Act also has wide jurisdiction. It covers any offense committed in the United Kingdom, but proceedings can also be brought if a person who has a close connection with the United Kingdom commits the relevant acts or omissions outside the United Kingdom. The UK Bribery Act defines a person with a close connection to include British citizens, individuals ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom and bodies incorporated in the United Kingdom.
The UK Bribery Act also provides that any organization that conducts part of its business in the United Kingdom, even if it is not incorporated in the United Kingdom, can be prosecuted for the corporate offense of failing to prevent bribery by an associated person, even if the bribery took place entirely outside the United Kingdom and the associated person had no connection with the United Kingdom. Other jurisdictions in which we operate have adopted similar anti-corruption, anti-bribery and anti-kickback laws to which we are subject. Civil and criminal penalties may be imposed for violations of these laws.
Although the code of ethics and standards of conduct adopted by JBS S.A. in late 2015 requires our employees to comply with the FCPA and the UK Bribery Act, we are still implementing a formal compliance program and policies that cover our employees and consultants. We operate in some countries which are viewed as high risk for corruption. Despite our ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with the FCPA, the UK Bribery Act and similar laws, there can be no assurance that our directors, officers,

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employees, agents, third-party intermediaries and the companies to which we outsource certain of our business operations, will comply with those laws and our anti-corruption policies, and we may be ultimately held responsible for any such non-compliance. If we or our directors or officers violate anti-corruption laws or other laws governing the conduct of business with government entities (including local laws), we or our directors or officers may be subject to criminal and civil penalties or other remedial measures, which could harm our reputation and have a material adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Any actual or alleged violations of such laws could also harm our reputation or have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects.
We depend on contract growers and independent producers to supply us with livestock.
We contract primarily with independent contract growers to raise the live chickens processed in our poultry operations. If we do not attract and maintain contracts with growers or maintain marketing and purchasing relationships with independent producers, our production operations could be negatively affected.
Changes in consumer preference could negatively impact our business.
The food industry in general is subject to changing consumer trends, demands and preferences. Trends within the food industry change often, and failure to identify and react to changes in these trends could lead to, among other things, reduced demand and price reductions for our products, and could have an adverse effect on our financial results.
The consolidation of customers could negatively impact our business.
Our customers, such as supermarkets, warehouse clubs and food distributors, have consolidated in recent years, and consolidation is expected to continue throughout the U.S. and in other major markets. These consolidations have produced large, sophisticated customers with increased buying power who are more capable of operating with reduced inventories, opposing price increases, and demanding lower pricing, increased promotional programs and specifically tailored products. These customers also may use shelf space currently used for our products for their own private label products. Because of these trends, our volume growth could slow or we may need to lower prices or increase promotional spending for our products, any of which could adversely affect our financial results.

We are increasingly dependent on information technology, and our business and reputation could suffer if we are unable to protect our information technology systems against, or effectively respond to, cyber-attacks, other cyber incidents or security breaches or if our information technology systems are otherwise disrupted.
The proper functioning of our information systems is critical to the successful operation of our business. Although our information systems are protected with robust backup systems, including physical and software safeguards and remote processing capabilities, information systems are still vulnerable to natural disasters, power losses, unauthorized access, telecommunication failures, and other problems. In addition, certain software used by us is licensed from, and certain services related to our information systems are provided by, third parties who could choose to discontinue their relationship with us. If critical information systems fail or these systems or related software or services are otherwise unavailable, our ability to process orders, maintain proper levels of inventories, collect accounts receivable, pay expenses, and maintain the security of Company and customer data could be adversely affected.
Cyber-attacks and other cyber incidents are occurring more frequently and are constantly evolving in nature and sophistication. Our failure to maintain our cyber-security measures and keep abreast of new and evolving threats may make our systems vulnerable. The vulnerability of our systems and our failure to identify or respond timely to cyber incidents could have an adverse effect on our operations and reputation and expose us to liability or regulatory enforcement actions.
Our future financial and operating flexibility may be adversely affected by significant leverage.
On a consolidated basis, as of December 31, 2017, we had approximately $865.2 million in secured indebtedness, $1,844.2 million of unsecured indebtedness and had the ability to borrow approximately $750.1 million under our credit agreements. Significant amounts of cash flow will be necessary to make payments of interest and repay the principal amount of such indebtedness.
The degree to which we are leveraged could have important consequences because:
It could affect our ability to satisfy our obligations under our credit agreements;
A substantial portion of our cash flow from operations is required to be dedicated to interest and principal payments and may not be available for operations, working capital, capital expenditures, expansion, acquisitions or general corporate or other purposes;

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Our ability to obtain additional financing and to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate requirements in the future may be impaired;
We may be more highly leveraged than some of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage;
Our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business may be limited;
It may limit our ability to pursue acquisitions and sell assets; and
It may make us more vulnerable in the event of a continued or new downturn in our business or the economy in general.
Our ability to make payments on and to refinance our debt, including our credit facilities, will depend on our ability to generate cash in the future. This, to a certain extent, is subject to various business factors (including, among others, the commodity prices of feed ingredients and chicken) and general economic, financial, competitive, legislative, regulatory, and other factors that are beyond our control.
There can be no assurance that we will be able to generate sufficient cash flow from operations or that future borrowings will be available under our credit facilities in an amount sufficient to enable us to pay our debt obligations, including obligations under our credit facilities, or to fund our other liquidity needs. We may need to refinance all or a portion of their debt on or before maturity. There can be no assurance that we will be able to refinance any of their debt on commercially reasonable terms or at all.
Impairment in the carrying value of goodwill could negatively affect our operating results.
We have a significant amount of goodwill on our Consolidated and Combined Balance Sheet. Under generally accepted accounting principles, goodwill must be evaluated for impairment annually or more frequently if events indicate it is warranted. If the carrying value of our reporting units exceeds their current fair value as determined based on the discounted future cash flows of the related business, the goodwill is considered impaired and is reduced to fair value by a non-cash charge to earnings. Events and conditions that could result in impairment in the value of our goodwill include changes in the industry in which we operate, particularly the impact of a downturn in the global economy or the economies of geographic regions or countries in which we operate, as well as competition, adverse changes in the regulatory environment, or other factors leading to reduction in expected long-term sales or profitability.
Media campaigns related to food production present risks.
Individuals or organizations can use social media platforms to publicize inappropriate or inaccurate stories or perceptions about the food production industry or our company. Such practices could cause damage to the reputations of our company and/or the food production industry in general. This damage could adversely affect our financial results.
Assumption of unknown liabilities in acquisitions may harm our financial condition and operating results.
Acquisitions may be structured in such a manner that would result in the assumption of unknown liabilities not disclosed by the seller or uncovered during pre-acquisition due diligence. For example, our acquisition of GNP was structured as an equity purchase in which we effectively assumed all of the liabilities of GNP including liabilities that may be unknown. Such unknown obligations and liabilities could harm our financial condition and operating results.
We may pursue additional opportunities to acquire complementary businesses, which could further increase leverage and debt service requirements and could adversely affect our financial situation if we fail to successfully integrate the acquired business.
We intend to continue to pursue selective acquisitions of complementary businesses in the future. Inherent in any future acquisitions are certain risks such as increasing leverage and debt service requirements and combining company cultures and facilities, which could have a material adverse effect on our operating results, particularly during the period immediately following such acquisitions. Additional debt or equity capital may be required to complete future acquisitions, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to raise the required capital. Furthermore, acquisitions involve a number of risks and challenges, including:
Diversion of management’s attention;
The need to integrate acquired operations;
Potential loss of key employees and customers of the acquired companies;

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Lack of experience in operating in the geographical market of the acquired business; and
An increase in our expenses and working capital requirements.
Any of these and other factors could adversely affect our ability to achieve anticipated cash flows at acquired operations or realize other anticipated benefits of acquisitions.
The vote by the U.K. electorate in favor of having the U.K. exit the European Union could adversely impact our business, results of operations and financial condition.
In a referendum held in the U.K. on June 23, 2016, a majority of those voting voted for the U.K. to leave the European Union (referred to as “Brexit”). For now, the U.K. remains a member of the European Union and there will not be any immediate change in either European Union or U.K. law as a consequence of the vote. European Union law does not govern contracts and the U.K. is not part of the European Union’s monetary union. However, Brexit vote signals the beginning of a lengthy process under which the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from, and future relationship with, the European Union will be negotiated and legislation to implement the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union will be enacted. The ultimate impact of Brexit vote will depend on the terms that are negotiated in relation to the U.K.’s future relationship with the European Union. Although the timetable for U.K. withdrawal is not at all clear at this stage, it is likely that the withdrawal of the U.K. from the European Union will take more than two years to be negotiated and conclude.
Brexit could impair our ability to transact business in the U.K. and in countries in the European Union. Brexit has already and could continue to adversely affect European and/or worldwide economic and market conditions and could continue to contribute to instability in the global financial markets. The long-term effects of Brexit will depend in part on any agreements the U.K. makes to retain access to markets in the European Union following the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union. In addition, we expect that Brexit could lead to legal uncertainty and potentially divergent national laws and regulations as the U.K. determines which European Union laws to replicate or replace. If the U.K. were to significantly alter its regulations affecting the food industry, we could face significant new costs. It may also be time-consuming and expensive for us to alter our internal operations in order to comply with new regulations. Additionally, Moy Park’s results of operations may be adversely affected if the U.K. is unable to secure replacement trade agreements and arrangements on terms as favorable as those currently enjoyed by the U.K. Any of the effects of Brexit could adversely affect our business, business opportunities, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
None.

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Item 2. Properties
Operating Facilities
Our main operating facilities are as follows:
 
 
Operating
 
Idled
 
Capacity(a)
 
Unit of measure
 
Average Capacity Utilization(b)
Legacy Pilgrim’s Facilities:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
U.S. Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh processing plants
 
25

 
6

 
6.6 million

 
Birds per day
 
83.4
%
Prepared foods cook plants
 
4

 
2

 
393.7 million

 
Pounds per year
 
82.4
%
Feed mills
 
26

 
2

 
11.4 million

 
Tons per year
 
84.5
%
Hatcheries
 
32

 
3

 
2.3 billion

 
Eggs per year
 
83.6
%
Rendering
 
4

 
2

 
381,408

 
Tons per year
 
69.5
%
Pet food processing
 
4

 

 
79,144

 
Tons per year
 
47.0
%
Freezers
 
1

 
1

 
125,000

 
Square feet
 
N/A

Grain elevator
 
1

 

 
4.0 million

 
Bushels put through per year
 
100.0
%
U.K. and Europe Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh processing plants
 
4

 

 
0.9 million

 
Birds per day
 
94.3
%
Prepared foods cook plants
 
10

 
1

 
456.0 million

 
Pounds per year
 
80.7
%
Feed mills
 
3

 

 
0.7 million

 
Tons per year
 
100.0
%
Hatcheries
 
7

 
1

 
433.7 million

 
Eggs per year
 
91.0
%
Rendering
 
1

 

 
17,784

 
Tons per year
 
93.1
%
Puerto Rico Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh processing plant
 
1

 

 
0.1 million

 
Birds per day
 
68.2
%
Feed mill
 
1

 

 
0.1 million

 
Tons per year
 
61.5
%
Hatchery
 
1

 

 
27.0 million

 
Eggs per year
 
54.9
%
Rendering
 
1

 

 
8,204

 
Tons per year
 
38.0
%
Distribution center
 
1

 

 
N/A

 
 
 
N/A

Mexico Facilities
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fresh processing plants
 
6

 

 
1.1 million

 
Birds per day
 
86.3
%
Prepared foods cook plants
 
2

 

 
27.8 million

 
Kilograms per year
 
84.1
%
Feed mills
 
9

 

 
2.3 million

 
Tons per year
 
76.2
%
Hatcheries
 
10

 

 
515.6 million

 
Eggs per year
 
98.1
%
Rendering
 
3

 

 
54,240

 
Tons per year
 
65.3
%
Distribution centers
 
19

 

 
N/A

 
 
 
N/A

(a)
Capacity and utilization numbers do not include idled facilities.
(b)
Due to Hurricane Maria, our Puerto Rico Facilities only operated for approximately 38 weeks in 2017, greatly reducing the reported average capacity utilization for the year.
Other Facilities and Information
In the U.S., our corporate offices share a building with JBS in Greeley, Colorado. We own a building in Richardson, Texas, which houses our computer data center. We also own office buildings in Broadway, Virginia, and Pittsburg, Texas, which house additional administrative, sales and marketing, research and development, and other support functions. We lease building space in St. Cloud, Minnesota, which houses GNP administrative, sales and marketing, and other support functions. We also lease office buildings in Bentonville, Arkansas, Boulder, Colorado and Cincinnati, Ohio for members of our sales team and building space in Carrollton, Texas, which houses a second computer data center.
In Mexico, we own an office building in Gómez Palacio, Durango and lease an office building in Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, both of which house our Mexican administrative functions. We also lease office space in Mexico City that houses our Mexican marketing office.

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In the U.K., we lease an office building in Craigavon, U.K., which houses administrative, sales, marketing and other support functions. We also lease space in Ballymena, U.K. that houses a research and development lab.
Most of our U.S. property, plant and equipment are pledged as collateral on our U.S. credit facilities. See “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations.”

Item 3. Legal Proceedings
Tax Claims and Proceedings
In 2009, the IRS asserted claims against the Company in the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Texas, Fort Worth Division, or the Bankruptcy Court, totaling $74.7 million. Following a series of objections and motions of opposition filed by both parties with the Bankruptcy Court, the Company worked with the IRS through the normal processes and procedures that are available to resolve the IRS’ claims. On December 12, 2012, the Company entered into two Stipulation of Settled Issues agreements with the IRS, or the Stipulations. The first Stipulation related to the Company’s 2003, 2005, and 2007 tax years and resolved all of the material issues in the case. The second Stipulation related to the Company as the successor in interest to Gold Kist Inc., or Gold Kist, for the tax years ended June 30, 2005 and September 30, 2005, and resolved all substantive issues in the case. These Stipulations accounted for approximately $29.3 million of the claims and should result in no additional tax due. The Company is currently working with the IRS to finalize the complete tax calculations associated with the Stipulations.
A Mexico subsidiary of the Company is currently appealing an unfavorable tax adjustment proposed by Mexican Tax Authorities due to an examination of a specific transaction undertaken by the Mexico subsidiary during tax years 2009 and 2010.  At the time of the transaction the Company obtained a “should” level opinion from outside legal counsel representing no additional tax due as a result of the transaction.  However, in February 2018, the Company received a new assessment from external legal counsel indicating an unfavorable outcome to the Company as reasonably possible.  Amounts under appeal are $24.3 million and $16.1 million for tax years 2009 and 2010, respectively.  No loss has been recorded for these amounts at this time.
Other Claims and Proceedings
Between September 2, 2016 and October 13, 2016, a series of purported class action lawsuits styled as In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, Case No. 1:16-cv-08637 were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against the Company and 13 other producers by and on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of broiler chickens alleging violations of federal and state antitrust and unfair competition laws. The complaints seek, among other relief, treble damages for an alleged conspiracy among defendants to reduce output and increase prices of broiler chickens from the period of January 2008 to the present. The plaintiffs have filed three consolidated amended complaints: one on behalf of direct purchasers and two on behalf of distinct groups of indirect purchasers. The defendants, including the Company, filed motions to dismiss these actions. On November 20, 2017, the court denied all pending motions to dismiss with the exception of certain state-law claims by indirect purchasers that were dismissed or narrowed in scope. Discovery is proceeding and is currently scheduled to be complete by June 13, 2019. In December 2017 and January 2018 four individual complaints (Affiliated Foods, Inc. v. Claxton Poultry Farms, Inc., Case No. 1:17-cv-08850; Winn Dixie Stores, Inc. v. Koch Foods, Inc., Case No. 1:18-cv-00245; Sysco Corp. v. Tyson Foods Inc., et al; Case No. 1:18-cv-00700; and U.S. Foods Inc. v. Tyson Foods Inc., et al; Case No. 1:18-cv-00702) were filed, mirroring the class action complaints. The class complaints were answered in January 2018. A schedule for answers to the individual complaints will be set and the court has indicated it intends to coordinate scheduling for the individual complaints with the class complaints to the greatest extent possible.
On October 10, 2016, Patrick Hogan, acting on behalf of himself and a putative class of persons who purchased shares of the Company’s stock between February 21, 2014 and October 6, 2016, filed a class action complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against the Company and its named executive officers. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the Company’s SEC filings contained statements that were rendered materially false and misleading by the Company’s failure to disclose that (i) the Company colluded with several of its industry peers to fix prices in the broiler-chicken market as alleged in the In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, (ii) its conduct constituted a violation of federal antitrust laws, (iii) the Company’s revenues during the class period were the result of illegal conduct and (iv) that the Company lacked effective internal control over financial reporting, as well as stating that the Company’s industry was anticompetitive. On April 4, 2017, the court appointed another stockholder, George James Fuller, as lead plaintiff. On April 26, 2017, the court set a briefing schedule for the filing of an amended complaint and the defendants’ motion to dismiss. On May 11, 2017, the plaintiff filed an amended complaint, which extended the end date of the putative class period to November 17, 2016. Defendants moved to dismiss on June 12, 2017, and the plaintiff filed its opposition on July 12, 2017. Defendants filed their reply on August 1, 2017. The Colorado Court’s decision on the motion is pending.

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On January 27, 2017, a purported class action on behalf of broiler chicken farmers was brought against the Company and four other producers in the Eastern District of Oklahoma alleging, among other things, a conspiracy to reduce competition for grower services and depress the price paid to growers. Plaintiffs allege violations of the Sherman Act and Packers and Stockyards Act and seek, among other relief, treble damages. The complaint was consolidated with a subsequently filed consolidated amended class action complaint styled as In re Broiler Chicken Grower Litigation, Case No. CIV-17-033-RJS. The defendants, including the Company, jointly moved to dismiss the consolidated amended complaint on September 9, 2017. During oral argument on January 19, 2018, the court considered and granted other defendants’ motions challenging jurisdiction and, as a result, granted the plaintiffs time to determine whether they will proceed forward with the case or dismiss the lawsuit. The plaintiffs have until Friday, February 2, 2018 to inform the district court of their plan course of action, and oral argument on remaining motions will be scheduled as necessary. In addition, on August 29, 2017, the Company filed a Motion to Enforce Confirmation Order Against Growers in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern district of Texas, seeking an order enjoining the In re Broiler Chicken Grower Litigation plaintiffs from pursuing the class action against the Company. A hearing on this motion was held in October 2017 and a second was scheduled for February 13, 2018. A court decision on this motion is pending.
On March 9, 2017, a stockholder derivative action styled as DiSalvio v. Lovette, et al., No. 2017 cv. 30207, was brought against all of the Company’s directors and its Chief Financial Officer, Fabio Sandri, in the District Court for the County of Weld in Colorado. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the named defendants breached their fiduciary duties by failing to prevent the Company and its officers from engaging in an antitrust conspiracy as alleged in the In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation, and issuing false and misleading statements as alleged in the Hogan class action litigation. On April 17, 2017, a related stockholder derivative action styled Brima v. Lovette, et al., No. 2017 cv. 30308, was brought against all of the Company’s directors and its Chief Financial Officer in the District Court for the County of Weld in Colorado. The Brima complaint contains largely the same allegations as the DiSalvio complaint. On May 4, 2017, the plaintiffs in both the DiSalvio and Brima actions moved to (i) consolidate the two stockholder derivative cases, (ii) stay the consolidated action until the resolution of the motion to dismiss in the Hogan putative securities class action, and (iii) appoint co-lead counsel. The court granted the motion on May 8, 2017, staying the proceedings pending resolution of the motion to dismiss in the Hogan action.
On January 10, 2018 a shareholder derivative action was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado against the the Company, as nominal defendant, as well as the Company’s directors, its Chief Financial Officer, and majority shareholder JBS S.A. in Raul v. Nogueira de Souza, et al., Civil Action No. 18-cv-00069. The complaint alleges, among other things, that (i) defendants permitted the Company to omit material information from its proxy statements filed in 2014 through 2017 related to the conduct of former directors Wesley Mendonça Batista and Joesley Mendonça Batista and (ii) the individual defendants and JBS breached their fiduciary duties by failing to prevent the Company and its officers from engaging in an antitrust conspiracy as alleged in the Broiler Litigation and issuing false and misleading statements as alleged in the Hogan class action litigation. The defendants are currently in discussions with counsel for the Raul plaintiffs regarding the possibility of consolidating the Raul action with the consolidated state court derivative action, which is currently stayed, or in the alternative, determining a motion to dismiss briefing schedule.
On January 25, 2018, a stockholder derivative action styled as Sciabacucchi v. JBS S.A.et al., was brought against all of the Company’s directors, JBS S.A., JBS USA Holding and several members of the Batista family, in the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware. The complaint alleges, among other things, that the named defendants breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the Moy Park acquisition.
The Company believes it has strong defenses in each of the above litigations and intends to contest them vigorously. The Company cannot predict the outcome of these actions nor when they will be resolved. If the plaintiffs were to prevail in any of these litigations, the Company could be liable for damages, which could be material and could adversely affect its financial condition or results of operations.
J&F Investigation
On May 3, 2017, certain officers of J&F Investimentos S.A. (“J&F,” and the companies controlled by J&F, the “J&F Group”) (including two former directors of the Company), a company organized in Brazil and an indirect controlling stockholder of the Company, entered into plea bargain agreements (the "Plea Bargain Agreements") with the Brazilian Federal Prosecutor's Office (Ministério Público Federal) ("MPF") in connection with certain illicit conduct involving improper payments made to Brazilian politicians, government officials and other individuals in Brazil committed by or on behalf of J&F and certain J&F Group companies. The details of such illicit conduct are set forth in separate annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements, and include admissions of improper payments to politicians and political parties in Brazil over the last 10 years in exchange for receiving, or attempting to receive, favorable treatment for certain J&F Group companies in Brazil.
Pursuant to the terms of the Plea Bargain Agreements, the MPF agreed to grant immunity to the officers in exchange for such officers agreeing, among other considerations, to: (1) pay fines totaling R$225.0 million; (2) cooperate with the MPF,

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including providing supporting evidence of the illicit conduct identified in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements; and (3) present any previously undisclosed illicit conduct within 120 days following the execution of the Plea Bargain Agreements as long as the description of such conduct had not been omitted in bad faith. In addition, the Plea Bargain Agreements provide that the MPF may terminate any Plea Bargain Agreement and request that the Supreme Court of Brazil (Supremo Tribunal Federal) ("STF") ratify such termination if any illicit conduct is identified that was not included in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements.
On June 5, 2017, J&F, in its role as the controlling shareholder of the J&F Group, entered into a leniency agreement (the "Leniency Agreement") with the MPF, whereby J&F assumed responsibility for the conduct that was described in the annexes to the Plea Bargain Agreements. In connection with the Leniency Agreement, J&F has agreed to pay a fine of R$10.3 billion, adjusted for inflation, over a 25- year period. In exchange, the MPF agreed not to initiate or propose any criminal, civil or administrative actions against J&F, the companies of the J&F Group or those officers of J&F with respect to such conduct. Pursuant to the terms of the Leniency Agreement, if the Plea Bargain Agreement is annulled by the STF, then the Leniency Agreement may also be terminated by the Fifth Chamber of Coordination and Reviews of the MPF or, solely with respect to the criminal related provisions of the Leniency Agreement, by the 10th Federal Court of the Federal District in Brasilia, the authorities responsible for the ratification of the Leniency Agreement.
On August 24, 2017, the Fifth Chamber ratified the Leniency Agreement. On September 8, 2017, the 10th Federal Court ratified the Leniency Agreement. In compliance with the terms of the Leniency Agreement, J&F is conducting an internal investigation involving improper payments made in Brazil by or on behalf of J&F, certain companies of the J&F Group and certain officers of J&F (including two former directors of the Company). J&F has engaged outside advisors to assist in conducting the investigation, including an assessment as to whether any of the misconduct disclosed to Brazilian authorities had any connection to the Company, or resulted in a violation of U.S. law. The internal investigation is ongoing and the Company is fully cooperating with J&F in connection with the investigation. We cannot predict when the investigation will be completed or the results of the investigation, including the outcome or impact of any government investigations or any resulting litigation.
On September 8, 2017, at the request of the MPF, the STF issued an order temporarily revoking the immunity from prosecution previously granted to Joesley Mendonça Batista and another executive of J&F in connection with the Plea Bargain Agreements. The MPF requested the revocation of their immunity following public disclosure of certain voice recordings involving them in which they discussed certain alleged illicit activities the MPF claims were not covered by the annexes to their respective Plea Bargain Agreements. On September 10, 2017, Joesley Mendonça Batista voluntarily turned himself into police in Brazil. On September 11, 2017, the 10th Federal Court suspended its ratification of the criminal provisions of the Leniency Agreement as a result of the STF's temporary revocation of Joesley Mendonça Batista immunity under his Plea Bargain Agreement. On October 11, 2017, Judge Vallisney de Souza of the 10th Federal Court revalidated the criminal provisions of the Leniency Agreement.
We cannot predict whether the Plea Bargain Agreements will be upheld or terminated by the STF, and, if terminated, whether the Leniency Agreement will be also terminated by either the Fifth Chamber and/or the 10th Federal Court, and to what extent. If the Leniency Agreement is terminated, in whole or in part, as a result of any Plea Bargain Agreement being terminated, this may materially adversely affect the public perception or reputation of the J&F Group, including the Company, and could have a material adverse effect on the J&F Group's business, financial condition, results of operations and prospects. Furthermore, the termination of the Leniency Agreement may cause the termination of certain stabilization agreements entered into by JBS S.A. and certain of its subsidiaries, which would permit the lenders of the debt that is the subject to the terms of the stabilization agreements to accelerate their debt, which could have a material adverse effect on JBS S.A. and its subsidiaries (including the Company).
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
None.

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PART II
Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Market Information
Our common stock is listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market (“NASDAQ”) under the symbol “PPC.” High and low closing prices of the Company’s common stock for 2017 and 2016 are as follows:
  
 
2017 Prices
 
2016 Prices
Quarter
 
High
 
Low
 
High
 
Low
First
 
$
22.35

 
$
18.10

 
$
25.15

 
$
21.00

Second
 
26.22

 
21.70

 
27.50

 
23.48

Third
 
29.86

 
20.28

 
25.82

 
20.80

Fourth
 
38.39

 
27.68

 
21.84

 
17.38

Holders
The Company estimates there were approximately 37,200 holders (including individual participants in security position listings) of the Company’s common stock as of February 15, 2018.
Dividends
On May 18, 2016, the Company paid a special cash dividend from retained earnings of approximately $700 million, or $2.75 per share, to stockholders of record as of May 10, 2016. On February 17, 2015, the Company paid a special cash dividend from retained earnings of approximately $1.5 billion, or $5.77 per share, to stockholders of record as of January 30, 2015. The Company used proceeds from the U.S. Credit Facility, along with cash on hand, to fund both special cash dividends.
Notwithstanding the special cash dividends paid on May 18, 2016 and February 17, 2015, the Company has no current intention to pay any further dividends to its stockholders. Any change in dividend policy will depend upon future conditions, including earnings and financial condition, general business conditions, any applicable contractual limitations and other factors deemed relevant by our Board of Directors in its discretion.
Both the U.S. Credit Facility and the indentures governing the Company’s senior notes restrict, but do not prohibit, the Company from declaring dividends. The terms of Moy Park's indenture and the Moy Park Multicurrency Revolving Facility Agreement restrict Moy Park’s ability and the ability of certain of Moy Park’s subsidiaries to, among other things, make payments and distributions to us. See "Note 11. Long-Term Debt and Other Borrowing Arrangements” of our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information.
Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities in 2017
On July 28, 2015, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a $150.0 million share repurchase authorization. The Company plans to repurchase shares through various means, which may include but are not limited to open market purchases, privately negotiated transactions, the use of derivative instruments and/or accelerated share repurchase programs. The share repurchase program was originally scheduled to expire on July 27, 2016. On February 10, 2016, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an increase of the share repurchase authorization to $300.0 million and an extension of the expiration date to February 9, 2017. The extent to which the Company repurchases its shares and the timing of such repurchases will vary and depend upon market conditions and other corporate considerations, as determined by the Company’s management team. The Company reserves the right to limit or terminate the repurchase program at any time without notice. For the fifty-three weeks ended December 31, 2017, the Company repurchased 0.8 million shares of its common stock under the program for an aggregate cost of $14.6 million and an average price of $18.78 per share. Since the inception of the program, the Company has repurchased 11.4 million shares of its common stock under the program for an aggregate cost of $231.8 million and an average price of $20.30 per share. Set forth below is information regarding our stock repurchases for the thirteen weeks ended December 31, 2017.

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Table of Contents

Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Period
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased
 
Average Price
Paid per Share
 
Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs
 
Approximate Dollar Value of the Shares That May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs
September 25, 2017 through October 22, 2017
 

 
$

 

 
$
72,913,018

October 23, 2017 through November 26, 2017
 

 

 

 
72,913,018

November 27, 2017 through December 31, 2017
 

 

 

 
72,913,018

Total
 

 
$

 

 
$
72,913,018

Total Return on Registrant’s Common Equity
The graph below matches the cumulative 5-Year total return of holders of Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation’s common stock with the cumulative total returns of the Russell 2000 index and a customized peer group of three companies that includes: Hormel Foods Corp, Sanderson Farms Inc. and Tyson Foods Inc. The graph assumes that the value of the investment in our common stock, in each index, and in the peer group (including reinvestment of dividends) was $100 on December 30, 2012 and tracks it through December 31, 2017.
The graph covers the period from December 30, 2012 to December 31, 2017, and reflects the performance of the Company’s single class of common stock. The stock price performance represented by this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock performance.
http://api.tenkwizard.com/cgi/image?quest=1&rid=23&ipage=12066811&doc=15

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Table of Contents

 
12/30/12
 
06/30/13
 
12/29/13
 
06/30/14
 
12/28/14
 
06/30/15
 
12/27/15
 
06/30/16
 
12/25/16
 
06/30/17
 
12/31/17
PPC
$
100.00

 
$
207.79

 
$
229.07

 
$
380.53

 
$
473.85

 
$
385.19

 
$
377.14

 
$
474.73

 
$
354.37

 
$
408.41

 
$
578.70

Russell 2000
100.00

 
115.86

 
138.82

 
143.25

 
145.62

 
152.54

 
139.19

 
142.27

 
168.85

 
177.27

 
193.58

Peer Group
100.00

 
130.78

 
159.09

 
180.22

 
191.67

 
202.24

 
271.06

 
287.87

 
277.45

 
278.99

 
332.78

Item 6. Selected Financial Data
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(In thousands, except ratios and per share data)
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
Operating Results Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net sales
$
10,767,863

 
$
9,878,564

 
$
8,752,672

 
$
8,583,365

 
$
8,411,148

Gross profit(a)
1,471,614

 
1,103,983

 
1,298,724

 
1,393,995

 
845,439

Operating income(a)
1,072,322

 
792,082

 
1,061,132

 
1,203,115

 
658,863

Interest expense, net
99,453

 
73,335

 
42,721

 
77,271

 
84,881

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 

 

 

 

Income (loss) before income taxes(a)
982,066

 
724,036

 
1,001,324

 
1,102,391

 
573,940

Income tax expense (benefit)(b)
263,899

 
243,919

 
338,352

 
390,953

 
24,227

Net income(a)
718,167

 
480,117

 
662,972

 
711,438

 
549,713

Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interest
102

 
(803
)
 
48

 
(210
)
 
158

Net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation(a)
694,579

 
440,532

 
645,914

 
711,648

 
549,555

Ratio of earnings to fixed charges(c)
9.11x

 
8.86x

 
19.86x

 
12.96x

 
7.47x

Per Common Diluted Share Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation
$
2.79

 
$
1.73

 
$
2.50

 
$
2.74

 
$
2.12

Adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation(d)
2.78

 
1.75

 
2.60

 
2.96

 
2.14

Book value
7.45

 
8.21

 
10.28

 
8.46

 
5.75

Balance Sheet Summary:
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Working capital
1,063,765

 
624,728

 
1,090,129

 
1,138,177

 
845,584

Total assets
6,248,652

 
5,021,942

 
5,668,292

 
3,091,718

 
3,172,402

Notes payable and current maturities of long-term debt
47,775

 
15,712

 
28,108

 
262

 
410,234

Long-term debt, less current maturities
2,635,617

 
1,396,124

 
1,436,852

 
3,980

 
501,999

Total stockholders’ equity
1,855,661

 
2,086,132

 
2,659,875

 
2,196,801

 
1,492,602

Cash Flow Summary:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Cash flows from operating activities
801,321

 
795,362

 
1,020,380

 
1,066,692

 
878,533

Depreciation and amortization(e)
277,792

 
231,708

 
173,817

 
155,824

 
150,884

Impairment of goodwill and other assets
5,156

 
790

 
4,813

 

 
4,004

Purchases of investment securities

 

 


 
(55,100
)
 
(96,902
)
Proceeds from sale or maturity of investment securities

 

 


 
152,050

 

Acquisitions of property, plant and equipment
(339,872
)
 
(340,960
)
 
(190,262
)
 
(171,443
)
 
(116,223
)
Purchase of acquired business, net of cash acquired
(658,520
)
 

 
(373,532
)
 

 

Payment of cash dividends

 
(714,785
)
 
(1,498,470
)
 

 

Cash flows from financing activities
466,395

 
(828,219
)
 
(585,005
)
 
(905,595
)
 
(250,214
)
Other Data:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
EBITDA(f)(g)
1,353,343

 
1,023,755

 
1,213,779

 
1,321,774

 
800,398

Adjusted EBITDA(f)(g)
1,388,029

 
1,029,682

 
1,245,633

 
1,352,249

 
810,316

Key Indicators (as a percent of net sales):
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Gross profit(a)
13.7
%
 
11.2
%
 
14.8
%
 
16.2
%
 
10.1
%
Selling, general and administrative expenses
3.6
%
 
3.1
%
 
2.6
%
 
2.2
%
 
2.2
%
Operating income(a)
10.0
%
 
8.0
%
 
12.1
%
 
14.0
%
 
7.8
%
Interest expense, net
0.9
%
 
0.7
%
 
0.5
%
 
0.9
%
 
1.0
%
Net income(a)
6.5
%
 
4.5
%
 
7.4
%
 
8.3
%
 
6.5
%
(a)
Operating income and net income include the following restructuring charges for each of the years presented:
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(In millions)
Additional effect on operating income:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Administrative restructuring charges
(9.8
)
 
(1.1
)
 
(5.8
)
 
(2.3
)
 
(5.7
)

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(b)
Income tax expense in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014 resulted primarily from expense recorded on our year-to-date income. Income tax expense in 2013 resulted primarily from expense recorded on our year-to-date income offset by a decrease in valuation allowance as a result of year-to-date earnings.
(c)
For purposes of computing the ratio of earnings to fixed charges, earnings consist of income before income taxes plus fixed charges (excluding capitalized interest). Fixed charges consist of interest (including capitalized interest) on all indebtedness, amortization of capitalized financing costs and that portion of rental expense that we believe to be representative of interest.
(d)
Adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation per common diluted share is presented because it is used by us and we believe it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties, in addition to and not in lieu of results prepared in conformity with GAAP, to compare the performance of companies. Adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation per common diluted share is not a measurement of financial performance under GAAP, has limitations as an analytical tool and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for an analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. It does not reflect the impact of earnings or charges resulting from matters we consider to not be indicative of our ongoing operations.
A reconciliation of net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation per common diluted share to adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation per common diluted share is as follows:
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(In thousands except per share data)
Net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation
$
694,579

 
$
440,532

 
$
645,914

 
$
711,648

 
$
549,555

Loss on early extinguishment of debt

 

 
1,470

 
29,475

 

Foreign currency transaction losses (gains)
(2,659
)
 
4,055

 
26,148

 
27,979

 
4,415

Adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation
691,920

 
444,587

 
673,532

 
769,102

 
553,970

Weighted average diluted shares of common stock outstanding
248,971

 
254,126

 
258,676

 
259,471

 
259,241

Adjusted net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation
     per common diluted share
$
2.78

 
$
1.75

 
$
2.60

 
$
2.96

 
$
2.14

(e)
Includes amortization of capitalized financing costs of approximately $6.0 million, $5.3 million, $4.1 million, $13.7 million, and $9.3 million in 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2013, respectively.
(f)
“EBITDA” is defined as the sum of net income (loss) plus interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. “Adjusted EBITDA” is calculated by adding to EBITDA certain items of expense and deducting from EBITDA certain items of income that we believe are not indicative of our ongoing operating performance consisting of: (i) net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests in the period from 2013 through 2017, (ii) restructuring charges in the period from 2013 through 2017, (iii) foreign currency transaction losses (gains) in the period from 2013 through 2017 and (iv) transaction costs related to the Moy Park acquisition in 2017. EBITDA is presented because it is used by us and we believe it is frequently used by securities analysts, investors and other interested parties, in addition to and not in lieu of results prepared in conformity with GAAP, to compare the performance of companies. We believe investors would be interested in our Adjusted EBITDA because this is how our management analyzes EBITDA applicable to continuing operations. We also believe that Adjusted EBITDA, in combination with our financial results calculated in accordance with GAAP, provides investors with additional perspective regarding the impact of certain significant items on EBITDA and facilitates a more direct comparison of its performance with its competitors. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are not measurements of financial performance under GAAP. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations as analytical tools and should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for an analysis of our results as reported under GAAP. Some of the limitations of these measures are:
They do not reflect our cash expenditures, future requirements for capital expenditures or contractual commitments;
They do not reflect changes in, or cash requirements for, our working capital needs;
They do not reflect the significant interest expense or the cash requirements necessary to service interest or principal payments on our debt;
Although depreciation and amortization are non-cash charges, the assets being depreciated and amortized will often have to be replaced in the future, and EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA do not reflect any cash requirements for such replacements;
They are not adjusted for all non-cash income or expense items that are reflected in our statements of cash flows;
EBITDA does not reflect the impact of earnings or charges attributable to noncontrolling interests;
They do not reflect the impact of earnings or charges resulting from matters we consider to not be indicative of our ongoing operations; and
They do not reflect limitations on or costs related to transferring earnings from our subsidiaries to us.
(g)
In addition, other companies in our industry may calculate these measures differently than we do, limiting their usefulness as a comparative measure. Because of these limitations, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be considered as an alternative to cash flow from operating activities or as a measure of liquidity or an alternative to net income as indicators of our operating performance or any other measures of performance derived in accordance with GAAP. You should compensate for these limitations by relying primarily on our GAAP results and using EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA only on a supplemental basis.

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A reconciliation of net income to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA is as follows:
 
2017
 
2016
 
2015
 
2014
 
2013
 
(In thousands)
Net income
$
718,167

 
$
480,117

 
$
662,972

 
$
711,438

 
$
549,713

Add:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Interest expense, net (a)
99,453

 
73,335

 
42,721

 
77,271

 
84,881

Income tax expense (benefit)
263,899

 
243,919

 
338,352

 
390,953

 
24,227

Depreciation and amortization (b)
277,792

 
231,708

 
173,817

 
155,824

 
150,884

Minus:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Amortization of capitalized financing costs(c)
5,968

 
5,324

 
4,083

 
13,712

 
9,307

EBITDA
1,353,343

 
1,023,755

 
1,213,779

 
1,321,774

 
800,398

Add:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Foreign currency transaction losses (gains)(d)
(2,659
)
 
4,055

 
26,148

 
27,979

 
4,415

Restructuring charges(e)
9,775

 
1,069

 
5,754

 
2,286

 
5,661

Transaction costs related to the Moy Park acquisition
19,606

 

 

 

 

Puerto Rico hurricane impact
8,066

 

 

 

 

Minus:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Net income (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interest
102

 
(803
)
 
48

 
(210
)
 
158

Adjusted EBITDA
$
1,388,029

 
$
1,029,682


$
1,245,633


$
1,352,249


$
810,316

(a)
Interest expense, net, consists of interest expense less interest income.
(b)
2013 includes $0.4 million of asset impairments not included in restructuring charges.
(c)
Amortization of capitalized financing costs is included in both interest expense, net and depreciation and amortization above.
(d)
The Company measures the financial statements of its Mexico subsidiaries as if the U.S. dollar were the functional currency. Accordingly, we remeasure assets and liabilities, other than nonmonetary assets, of the Mexico subsidiaries at current exchange rates. We remeasure nonmonetary assets using the historical exchange rate in effect on the date of each asset’s acquisition. Currency exchange gains or losses resulting from these remeasurements are included in the line item Foreign currency transaction losses (gains) in the Consolidated and Combined Statements of Income.
(e)
Restructuring charges includes tangible asset impairment, severance and change-in-control compensation costs, and losses incurred on both the sale of unneeded broiler eggs and flock depletion.



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Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
Our Company
We are one of the largest chicken producers in the world, with operations in the United States (“U.S.”), United Kingdom (“U.K.”), Mexico, France, Puerto Rico, and The Netherlands. We are primarily engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and value-added chicken products to retailers, distributors and foodservice operators. We offer a wide range of products to our customers through strong national and international distribution channels. Pilgrim’s fresh chicken products consist of refrigerated (non-frozen) whole chickens, whole cut-up chickens and selected chicken parts that are either marinated or non-marinated. The Company's prepared chicken products include fully cooked, ready-to-cook and individually frozen chicken parts, strips, nuggets and patties, some of which are either breaded or non-breaded and either marinated or non-marinated, ready-to-eat meals, multi-protein frozen foods, vegetarian foods and desserts.
We market our balanced portfolio of fresh, prepared and value-added chicken products to a diverse set of over 5,500 customers across the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, Mexico and in approximately 100 other countries, with no single customer accounting for more than 10% of total sales. We have become a valuable partner to our customers and a recognized industry leader by consistently providing high-quality products and services designed to meet their needs and enhance their business. Our sales efforts are largely targeted towards the foodservice industry, principally chain restaurants and food processors, such as Chick‑fil‑A® and retail customers, including grocery store chains and wholesale clubs, such as Kroger®, Costco®, Publix®, and H-E-B®.
As a vertically integrated company, we control every phase of the production process, which helps us better manage food safety and quality, as well as more effectively control margins and improve customer service. We operate feed mills, hatcheries, processing plants and distribution centers in 14 U.S. states, the U.K. and Europe, Puerto Rico and Mexico. Our plants are strategically located to ensure that customers timely receive fresh products. With our global network of approximately 5,200 growers, 39 feed mills, 50 hatcheries, 36 processing plants, 16 prepared foods cook plants, 20 distribution centers, nine rendering facilities and four pet food plants, we believe we are well-positioned to supply the growing demand for our products.
Our U.K. and Europe segment reflects the operations of Granite Holdings Sàrl and its subsidiaries (together, “Moy Park”), which we acquired on September 8, 2017. Moy Park is a leading and highly regarded U.K. food company, providing fresh, high quality and locally farmed poultry and convenience food products. Moy Park has operated in the U.K. retail market for over 50 years and delivers a range of fresh, ready-to-cook, coated and ready-to-eat poultry products to major retailers and large foodservice customers throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and The Netherlands. We believe that we operate one of the most efficient business models for chicken production in the U.K. and Europe.
We are one of the largest, and we believe one of the most efficient, producers and sellers of chicken in Mexico. Our presence in Mexico provides access to a market with growing demand and has enabled us to leverage our operational strengths within the region. The market for chicken products in Mexico is still developing, with most sales attributed to fresh, commodity-oriented, market price-based business. Additionally, we are an important player in the live market in Mexico. We believe our Mexico business is well positioned to continue benefiting from these trends in the Mexican consumer market.
As of December 31, 2017, we had approximately 51,300 employees and the capacity to process more than 45.2 million birds per week for a total of more than 13.3 billion pounds of live chicken annually. In 2017, we produced 10.0 billion pounds of chicken products, generating approximately $10.8 billion in net sales and approximately $694.6 million in net income attributable to Pilgrim’s.
We operate on a 52/53-week fiscal year that ends on the Sunday falling on or before December 31. Any reference we make to a particular year (for example, 2017) in this report applies to our fiscal year and not the calendar year. Fiscal 2017 was a 53-week fiscal year.

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Executive Summary
We reported net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation of $694.6 million, or $2.79 per diluted common share, for 2017. These operating results included gross profit of $1,471.6 million. During 2017, we generated $801.3 million of cash from operations.
The following table compares the highest and lowest prices reached on nearby futures for one bushel of corn and one ton of soybean meal during the current year and previous two years:
 
Corn
 
Soybean Meal
 
Highest
Price
 
Lowest Price
 
Highest Price
 
Lowest Price
 
 
 
 
2017:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
$
3.68

 
$
3.47

 
$
346.30

 
$
315.50

Third Quarter
4.15

 
3.46

 
346.20

 
296.50

Second Quarter
3.96

 
3.66

 
321.00

 
297.20

First Quarter
3.86

 
3.55

 
352.70

 
314.10

2016:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
3.98

 
3.58

 
320.70

 
269.00

Third Quarter
3.94

 
3.16

 
401.00

 
302.80

Second Quarter
4.38

 
3.52

 
418.30

 
266.80

First Quarter
3.73

 
3.52

 
275.30

 
257.20

2015:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fourth Quarter
3.98

 
3.58

 
320.70

 
269.00

Third Quarter
4.34

 
3.48

 
374.80

 
302.40

Second Quarter
4.10

 
3.53

 
326.40

 
286.50

First Quarter
4.13

 
3.70

 
377.40

 
317.50

We purchase derivative financial instruments, specifically exchange-traded futures and options, in an attempt to mitigate price risk related to our anticipated consumption of commodity inputs such as corn, soybean meal, wheat, soybean oil and natural gas. We will sometimes purchase a derivative instrument to minimize the impact of a commodity’s price volatility on our operating results. We will also purchase derivative financial instruments in an attempt to mitigate currency exchange rate exposure related to the financial statements of our Mexico segment that are denominated in Mexican pesos and our U.K. and Europe segment that are denominated in British pounds.
For our Mexico segment, we do not designate derivative financial instruments that we purchase to mitigate commodity purchase or currency exchange rate exposures as cash flow hedges; therefore, we recognize changes in the fair value of these derivative financial instruments immediately in earnings.
For our U.K. and Europe segment, we do designate certain derivative financial instruments that we have purchased to mitigate foreign currency transaction exposures as cash flow hedges; therefore, before the settlement date of the financial derivative instruments, we recognize changes in the fair value of the effective portion of the cash flow hedge in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) while we recognize changes in the fair value of the ineffective portion immediately in earnings. When the derivative financial instruments associated with the effective portion are settled, the amount in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) is then reclassified to earnings. Gains or losses related to these derivative financial instruments are included in the line item Cost of sales in the Consolidated and Combined Statements of Income.
We recognized $6.7 million in net gains related to changes in the fair value of our derivative financial instruments during 2017. We recognized $4.3 million in net losses and $21.6 million in net gains related to changes in the fair value of our derivative financial instruments during 2016 and 2015, respectively.
Although changes in the market price paid for feed ingredients impact cash outlays at the time we purchase the ingredients, such changes do not immediately impact cost of sales. The cost of feed ingredients is recognized in cost of sales, on a first-in-first-out basis, at the same time that the sales of the chickens that consume the feed grains are recognized. Thus, there is a lag between the time cash is paid for feed ingredients and the time the cost of such feed ingredients is reported in cost of goods sold. For example, corn delivered to a feed mill and paid for one week might be used to manufacture feed the following week. However,

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the chickens that eat that feed might not be processed and sold for another 42 to 63 days, and only at that time will the costs of the feed consumed by the chickens become included in cost of goods sold.
Commodities such as corn, soybean meal, and soybean oil are actively traded through various exchanges with future market prices quoted on a daily basis. These quoted market prices, although a good indicator of the commodity's base price, do not represent the final price for which we can purchase these commodities. There are several components in addition to the quoted market price, such as freight, storage and seller premiums, that are included in the final price that we pay for grain. Although changes in quoted market prices may be a good indicator of the commodity’s base price, the components mentioned above may have a significant impact on the total change in grain costs recognized from period to period.
Market prices for chicken products are currently at levels sufficient to offset the costs of feed ingredients. However, there can be no assurance that chicken prices will not decrease due to such factors as competition from other proteins and substitutions by consumers of non-protein foods because of uncertainty surrounding the general economy and unemployment.
Recent Developments
Moy Park Acquisition. On September 8, 2017, we acquired 100% of the issued and outstanding shares of Moy Park from JBS S.A. for cash of $301.3 million and a note payable to the seller in the amount of £562.5 million. Moy Park is one of the top-ten food companies in the U.K., Northern Ireland's largest private sector business and one of Europe's leading poultry producers. With 4 fresh processing plants, 10 prepared foods cook plants, 3 feed mills, 7 hatcheries and 1 rendering facility in the U.K., France and The Netherlands, the acquired business processes 6.0 million birds per seven-day work week, in addition to producing around 456.0 million pounds of prepared foods per year. Moy Park currently has approximately 10,200 employees. See “Note 2. Business Acquisitions” of our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information relating to this acquisition. The Moy Park operations constitutes our U.K. and Europe segment.
The acquisition was treated as a common-control transaction under U.S. GAAP. A common-control transaction is a transfer of net assets or an exchange of equity interests between entities under the control of the same parent. The accounting and reporting for a transaction between entities under common control is not to be considered a business combination under U.S. GAAP. Accordingly, for the period from September 30, 2015 through September 7, 2017, the Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements includes the accounts of the Company and its majority-owned subsidiaries combined with the accounts of Moy Park. For the period from September 8, 2017 through September 24, 2017, the Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements includes the accounts of the Company and its majority-owned subsidiaries, including Moy Park.
GNP Acquisition. On January 6, 2017, we acquired 100% of the membership interests of GNP from Maschhoff Family Foods, LLC for a cash purchase price of $350 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments. GNP is a vertically integrated poultry business based in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The acquired business has a production capacity of 2.1 million birds per five-day work week in its two plants and currently employs approximately 1,500 people. This acquisition further strengthens our strategic position in the U.S. chicken market. The GNP operations are included in our U.S. segment.
2017 Tax Reform
On December 22, 2017, the U.S. government enacted comprehensive tax legislation (the “Tax Act”), which significantly revises the ongoing U.S. corporate income tax law by lowering the U.S. federal corporate income tax rate from 35.0% to 21.0%, implementing a territorial tax system, imposing one-time tax on foreign unremitted earnings and setting limitations on deductibility of certain costs (e.g., interest expense), among other things.
Due to the complexities involved in accounting for the recently enacted Tax Act, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Staff Accounting Bulletin (“SAB”) 118, requires that the Company include in its financial statements the reasonable estimate of the impact of the Tax Act on earnings to the extent such reasonable estimate has been determined. Accordingly, the Company accrued $41.5 million in provisional tax benefit related to the net change in deferred tax liabilities stemming from the Tax Act’s reduction of the U.S. federal tax rate from 35.0% to 21.0% for the year ended December 31, 2017. Additionally, the Company is currently estimating a zero tax liability on foreign unremitted earnings due to a net earnings and profits (“E&P”) deficit on accumulated post-1986 deferred foreign income. Therefore, the Company has not accrued any amount of tax expense for the Tax Act’s one-time transition tax on the foreign subsidiaries’ accumulated, unremitted earnings going back to 1986 for the year ended December 31, 2017. The Company will continue to analyze historical E&P on accumulated post-1986 deferred foreign income and will record any resulting tax adjustment during 2018. All other accounting as required by the Tax Act as of December 31, 2017 is complete

The Tax Act also includes a provision to tax global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”) of foreign subsidiaries and a base erosion anti-abuse tax (“BEAT”) measure that taxes certain payments between a U.S. corporation and its subsidiaries. The Company may be subject to the GILTI and BEAT provisions effective beginning January 1, 2018 and is in the process of analyzing their effects, including how to account for the GILTI provision from an accounting policy standpoint.

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The final impact on the Company from the Tax Act’s transition tax legislation may differ from the aforementioned one-time transition tax amount due to the complexity of calculating and supporting with primary evidence such U.S. tax attributes as accumulated foreign earnings and profits, foreign tax paid, and other tax components involved in foreign tax credit calculations for prior years back to 1986. Such differences could be material, due to, among other things, changes in interpretations of the Tax Act, future legislative action to address questions that arise because of the Tax Act, changes in accounting standards for income taxes or related interpretations in response to the Tax Act, or any updates or changes to estimates the company has utilized to calculate the one-time transition tax.
Business Segment and Geographic Reporting
We operate in three reportable business segments: the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, and Mexico. We measure segment profit as operating income. Corporate expenses are allocated to Mexico based upon various apportionment methods for specific expenditures incurred related thereto with the remaining amounts allocated to the U.S. For additional information, see “Note 21. Business Segment and Geographic Reporting” of our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements included in this annual report.

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Table of Contents

Results of Operations
2017 Compared to 2016
Net sales. Net sales for 2017 increased $889.3 million, or 9.0%, from 2016. The following table provides additional information regarding net sales:
  
 
 
 
Change from 2016
 
Source of net sales
 
2017
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
7,443,222

 
$
771,819

 
11.6
%
(a)
U.K. and Europe
 
1,996,319

 
48,878

 
2.5
%
(b)
Mexico
 
1,328,322

 
68,602

 
5.4
%
(c)
Total net sales
 
$
10,767,863

 
$
889,299

 
9.0
%
 
(a)
U.S. net sales generated in 2017 increased $771.8 million, or 11.6%, from U.S. net sales generated in 2016 primarily because of net sales generated by the recently acquired GNP operations and an increase in net sales per pound experienced by our existing customers offset by a decrease in sales volume. The impact of the acquired business contributed $433.9 million, or 6.5 percentage points, to the increase in net sales. Higher net sales per pound, which resulted primarily from higher market prices, contributed $533.0 million, or 8.0 percentage points, to the net sales increase. Decreased sales volume, which resulted from the unfavorable impact that ongoing operational improvements in one of our prepared foods facilities had on production, the conversion of our Sanford, North Carolina facility to an organic operation, as well as more deboning of leg quarters in several of our facilities, offset the overall net sales increase by $195.2 million, or 2.9 percentage points. Included in U.S. sales generated during 2017 and 2016 were sales to JBS USA Food Company totaling $15.3 million and $16.5 million, respectively.
(b)
U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2017 increased $48.9 million, or 2.5%, from U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2016, primarily because of an increase in sales volume and an increase in net sales per pound partially offset by the impact of foreign currency translation. The increase in sales volume contributed $80.5 million, or 4.1 percentage points, to the increase in U.K. and Europe net sales. The increase in net sales per pound contributed $151.6 million, or 7.8 percentage points, to the increase in U.K. and Europe net sales. The increase to net sales was partially offset by the impact of foreign currency translation, which reduced U.K. and Europe net sales by $183.3 million, or 9.4 percentage points. Other factors affecting the increase in U.K. and Europe net sales were individually immaterial.
(c)
Mexico sales generated in 2017 increased $68.6 million, or 5.4%, from Mexico sales generated in 2016, primarily because of an increase in sales volume and an increase in net sales per pound partially offset by the impact of foreign currency translation. The increase in sales volume contributed $50.1 million, or 4.0 percentage points, to the increase in Mexico net sales. The increase in net sales per pound contributed $69.6 million, or 5.5 percentage points, to the increase in Mexico net sales. The impact of foreign currency translation partially offset the overall net sales increase by $51.1million, or 4.1 percentage points. Other factors affecting the increase in Mexico net sales were individually immaterial.
Gross profit. Gross profit increased by $367.6 million, or 33.3%, from $1.1 billion generated in 2016 to $1.5 billion generated in 2017. The following tables provide gross profit information:
  
 
 
 
Change from 2016
 
Percent of Net Sales
 
Components of gross profit
 
2017
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
Net sales
 
$
10,767,863

 
$
889,299

 
9.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
Cost of sales
 
9,296,249

 
521,668

 
5.9
%
 
86.3
%
 
88.8
%
(a)(b)
Gross profit
 
$
1,471,614

 
$
367,631

 
33.3
%
 
13.7
%
 
11.2
%
 
Sources of gross profit
 
2017
 
Change from 2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
1,094,811

 
$
352,726

 
47.5
 %
 
U.K. and Europe
 
188,180

 
(1,443
)
 
(0.8
)%
 
Mexico
 
188,528

 
16,348

 
9.5
 %
 
Elimination
 
95

 

 
 %
(c)
Total gross profit
 
$
1,471,614

 
$
367,631

 
33.3
 %
 

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Sources of cost of sales
 
2017
 
Change from 2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
6,348,411

 
$
419,093

 
7.1
%
(a)
U.K. and Europe
 
1,808,139

 
50,321

 
2.9
%
(b)
Mexico
 
1,139,794

 
52,254

 
4.8
%
(c)
Elimination
 
(95
)
 

 
%
(d)
Total cost of sales
 
$
9,296,249

 
$
521,668

 
5.9
%
 
(a)
Cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2017 increased $419.1 million, or 7.1%, from cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2016. Cost of sales primarily increased because of costs incurred by the acquired GNP operations and, to a lesser extent, by increases in cost of sales incurred by our existing U.S. operations. Cost of sales incurred by the acquired GNP operations contributed $363.5 million, or 6.2 percentage points, to the increase in U.S. cost of sales. Cost of sales related to the existing U.S. operations increased due to $88.7 million in increased labor costs, $25.7 million in increased chick costs, $19.7 million in increased depreciation, $19.1 million in increased health care costs and $25.7 million in increased freight. These increases were offset by associated lower sales volume, a $79.6 million decrease in feed ingredients costs and $20.6 million of commodity derivative gains. Other factors affecting U.S. cost of sales were individually immaterial.
(b)
Cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2017 increased $50.3 million, or 2.9%, from cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2016 primarily because of increased sales volume and a $64.5 million increase in feed ingredient costs. U.K. and Europe cost of sales also increased because of a $4.5 million increase in freight and storage costs, a $3.5 million increase in other costs, and a $0.8 million increase in utilities costs. These costs were partially offset by a decline in depreciation of $15.4 million and a decline of wages and benefits by $8.3 million from 2016 amounts. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
(c)
Cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2017 increased $52.3 million, or 4.8%, from cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2016 primarily because of increased sales volume and a $37.1 million increase in contract services. Mexico cost of sales also increased because of a $12.9 million increase in wages and benefits, a $9.3 million increase in warehousing costs, an $8.6 million increase in utilities costs, a $6.6 million increase in transportation costs and a $1.8 million increase in in depreciation and amortization costs. These costs were partially offset by the $21.5 million favorable impact of foreign currency translation on inventory, a $1.3 million gain in commodity derivatives and a $1.1 million decrease in travel and entertainment costs. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
(d)
Our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements include the accounts of our company and its majority owned subsidiaries. We eliminate all significant affiliate accounts and transactions upon consolidation.
Operating income. Operating income increased $280.2 million, or 35.4%, from $792.1 million generated for 2016 to $1.1 billion generated for 2017. The following tables provide operating income information:
 
 
 
 
Change from 2016
 
Percent of Net Sales
 
Components of operating income
 
2017
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
2017
 
2016
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
Gross profit
 
$
1,471,614

 
$
367,631

 
33.3
%
 
13.7
%
 
11.2
%
 
SG&A expenses
 
389,517

 
78,685

 
25.3
%
 
3.6
%
 
3.1
%
(a)(b)
Administrative restructuring charges
 
9,775

 
8,706

 
814.4
%
 
0.1
%
 
%
(c)
Operating income
 
$
1,072,322

 
$
280,240

 
35.4
%
 
10.0
%
 
8.1
%
 
 
 
 
 
Change from 2016
 
Source of operating income
 
2017
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
841,491

 
$
268,932

 
47.0
 %
 
U.K. and Europe
 
77,105

 
(1,467
)
 
(1.9
)%
 
Mexico
 
153,631

 
12,775

 
9.1
 %
 
Elimination
 
95

 

 
 %
(f)
Total operating income
 
$
1,072,322

 
$
280,240

 
35.4
 %
 
Sources of SG&A expenses
 
2017
 
Change from 2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
245,061

 
$
76,604

 
45.5
 %
(a)
U.K. and Europe
 
109,559

 
(1,492
)
 
(1.3
)%
(b)
Mexico
 
34,897

 
3,573

 
11.4
 %
(c)
Total SG&A expense
 
$
389,517

 
$
78,685

 
25.3
 %
 

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Sources of administrative restructuring charges
 
2017
 
Change from 2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
8,259

 
$
7,190

 
672.6
%
(d)
U.K. and Europe
 
1,516

 
1,516

 
100.0
%
(e)
Total administrative restructuring charges
 
$
9,775

 
$
8,706

 
814.4
%
 
(a)
SG&A expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2017 increased $76.6 million, or 45.5%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2016 primarily because of expenses incurred by the acquired GNP operations and, to a lesser extent, by increases in SG&A expense incurred by our existing U.S. operations. Expenses incurred by the acquired GNP business contributed $35.5 million, or 21.2 percentage points, to the overall increase in SG&A expenses. Expenses incurred by our existing U.S. operations increased primarily because of an $18.7 million increase in transaction costs associated with the Moy Park acquisition, a $6.0 million increase in professional fees expenses, a $5.7 million increase in management fees charged for administrative functions shared with JBS USA Food Company, a $5.0 million increase in advertising and promotional expenses, a $4.4 million increase in employee wages and benefits and a $1.4 million increase in depreciation and amortization expenses. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
(b)
SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2017 decreased $1.5 million, or 1.3%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2016 primarily because of a $9.0 million decrease in advertising and promotion costs and a $4.0 million decrease in management fees charged for administrative functions shared with JBS S.A. These decreases to SG&A expense were partially offset by a $7.4 million increase in employee wages and benefits, a $2.3 million increase in miscellaneous expenses and a $1.6 million increase in depreciation and amortization. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
(c)
SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2017 increased $3.6 million, or 11.4%, from SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2016 primarily because of a $1.7 million increase in wages and benefits and a $1.9 million increase in advertising and promotion expenses. These increases to SG&A expense were partially offset by a $0.3 million benefit from a decline in foreign exchange rates. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
(d)
Administrative restructuring charges incurred by the U.S. operations during 2017 increased $7.2 million, or 672.6%, from administrative restructuring charges incurred during 2016. Administrative restructuring charges incurred by the U.S. segment during 2017 included a $3.5 million impairment of the aggregate carrying amount of an asset group held for sale in Alabama, $2.6 million in severance costs related to the GNP operations, the elimination of prepaid costs totaling $0.7 million related to obsolete software assumed in the GNP acquisition, and $0.9 million in costs associated with the plant closure in Luverne, Minnesota. Administrative restructuring charges incurred by the U.S. operations during 2016 represented impairment costs of $0.8 million related to assets held for sale in Texas and impairment costs of $0.3 million related to the sale of an asset in Louisiana.
(e)
Administrative restructuring charges incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2017 increased $1.5 million, or 100.0%, from administrative restructuring charges incurred during 2016. During 2017, administrative restructuring charges represented impairment costs of $1.5 million related to to a property in Dublin, Ireland.
(f)
Our Consolidated and Combined Financial Statements include the accounts of both our company and its majority owned subsidiaries. We eliminate all significant affiliate accounts and transactions upon consolidation.
Interest expense. Consolidated and combined interest expense increased 41.7% to $107.2 million in 2017 from $75.6 million in 2016, primarily because of an increase in the weighted average interest rate to 4.54% in 2017 from 4.39% in 2016 and an increase in average borrowings of $2.0 billion in 2017 from $1.5 billion in 2016. Borrowings increased primarily to fund both the GNP and Moy Park acquisitions during 2017. As a percent of net sales, interest expense in 2017 and 2016 was 1.00% and 0.77%, respectively.
Income taxes. Our consolidated and combined income tax expense in 2017 was $263.9 million, compared to income tax expense of $243.9 million in 2016. The increase in income tax expense in 2017 resulted from an increase in pre-tax income during 2017, partially offset by the recognition of a future reduction in the U.S. tax rate during 2017. As a result of the future reduction in the U.S. tax rate, we expect a future effective tax rate of approximately 24%.
2016 Compared to 2015
Net sales. Net sales for 2016 increased $1.1 billion, or 12.9%, from 2015. The following table provides additional information regarding net sales:
  
 
 
 
Change from 2015
 
Source of net sales
 
2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
6,671,403

 
$
(471,951
)
 
(6.6
)%
(a)
U.K. and Europe
 
1,947,441

 
1,374,873

 
240.1
 %
(b)
Mexico
 
1,259,720

 
222,970

 
21.5
 %
(c)
Total net sales
 
$
9,878,564

 
$
1,125,892

 
12.9
 %
 
(a)
U.S. net sales generated in 2016 decreased $472.0 million, or 6.6%, from U.S. net sales generated in 2015 primarily because of decreases in both sales volume and net sales per pound. The decrease in sales volume, which resulted from the unfavorable impact that ongoing operational improvements in one of our prepared foods facilities had on production during the period and lower product demand from our commercial customers, contributed $300.5 million, or 4.2 percentage points, to the net sales decrease. Lower net sales per pound, which resulted primarily from lower market prices, contributed

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$171.4 million, or 2.3 percentage points, to the net sales decrease. Included in U.S. sales generated during 2016 and 2015 were sales to JBS USA Food Company totaling $16.5 million and $21.7 million, respectively.
(b)
U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2016 increased $1.4 billion, or 240.1%, from U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2015, primarily due to the common- control acquisition of Moy Park on September 30, 2015.
(c)
Mexico sales generated in 2016 increased $223.0 million, or 21.5%, from Mexico sales generated in 2015, primarily because of an increase in sales volume and an increase in net sales per pound partially offset by the impact of foreign currency translation. The increase in sales volume contributed $310.6 million, or 30.0 percentage points, to the increase in Mexico net sales. The increase in net sales per pound contributed $133.7 million, or 12.9 percentage points, to the increase in Mexico net sales. The increases to net sales was partially offset by the impact of foreign currency translation, which contributed $221.3 million, or 21.3 percentage points, to the decrease in Mexico net sales. Other factors affecting the increase in Mexico net sales were individually immaterial.
Gross profit. Gross profit decreased by $194.7 million, or 15.0%, from $1.3 billion generated in 2015 to $1.1 billion generated in 2016. The following tables provide gross profit information:
  
 
 
 
Change from 2015
 
Percent of Net Sales
 
Components of gross profit
 
2016
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
2016
 
2015
 
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
Net sales
 
$
9,878,564

 
$
1,125,892

 
12.9
 %
 
100.0
%
 
100.0
%
 
Cost of sales
 
8,774,581

 
1,320,633

 
17.7
 %
 
88.8
%
 
85.2
%
(a)(b)
Gross profit
 
$
1,103,983

 
$
(194,741
)
 
(15.0
)%
 
11.2
%
 
14.8
%
 
Sources of gross profit
 
2016
 
Change from 2015
 
Amount
 
Percent
 
 
(In thousands, except percent data)
 
United States
 
$
742,085

 
$
(384,776