SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
☒ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended December 26, 2021
☐ 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
PILGRIM’S PRIDE CORPORATION
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
|1770 Promontory Circle||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||Trading Symbol||Name of each exchange on which registered|
|Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share||PPC||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 every Interactive Data File required to be submitted 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 such files). Yes x No o
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|
|Smaller reporting company|| ||☐|
|Emerging growth company||☐|
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 has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report. ☒
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes ☐ 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 27, 2021 was $1,096,706,728. The number of shares of the registrant’s Common Stock outstanding as of February 18, 2022 was 243,896,170.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the Company’s Proxy Statement for the 2022 Annual Meeting of Stockholders are incorporated by reference into Part III of this annual report.
PILGRIM’S PRIDE CORPORATION
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Forward Looking Statements and Explanatory Note
This annual report contains, and management may make, certain “forward-looking statements” as defined under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. 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 and uncertainties. Such risks and uncertainties include those described under “Risk Factors” below and elsewhere in this annual report. Actual results could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied or projected by these forward-looking statements as a result of these risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and beyond our control. The Company’s forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this report or as of the date they are made, and the Company undertakes no obligation to update its forward-looking statements. The risks described in this annual report are not the only risks we face, and additional risks and uncertainties may impair our business operations. The occurrence of any one or more of the factors described herein or other currently unknown factors could materially adversely affect our business and operating results.
Item 1. Business
Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (referred to herein as “Pilgrim’s,” “PPC,” “the Company,” “we,” “us,” “our,” or similar terms) is primarily engaged in the production, processing, marketing and distribution of fresh, frozen and value-added chicken and pork products to retailers, distributors and foodservice operators. JBS S.A., through its indirect wholly-owned subsidiaries (together, “JBS”), beneficially owns 80.21% of our outstanding common stock.
We market our balanced portfolio of fresh, prepared and value-added meat products to a diverse set of over 55,000 customers across the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, Mexico and in approximately 125 other countries. 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® in the U.S., chain restaurants such as McDonald’s® and grocery store chains such as Tesco and Waitrose in the U.K. and Europe, and grocery store chains such as Wal-Mart® in Mexico.
As a vertically integrated company, we are able to control every phase of the production process, which helps us manage food safety and quality, control margins and improve customer service. Our plants are strategically located to ensure that customers timely receive fresh products. With our global network of approximately 5,100 growers, 35 feed mills, 48 hatcheries, 43 processing plants, 37 prepared foods cook plants, 30 distribution centers, 10 rendering facilities and four pet food plants, we believe we are well-positioned to supply the growing demand for our products.
On September 24, 2021, the Company acquired 100% of the equity of the specialty meats and ready meals businesses of Kerry Group plc for cash of £695.3 million, or $954.1 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments. The specialty meats and ready meals businesses of Kerry Group plc, which have subsequently changed their name to Pilgrim’s Food Masters (“PFM”), are leading manufacturers of branded and private label meats, meat snacks, food to-go products in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland and a leading ethnic chilled and frozen ready meals business in the U.K. The acquired operations are included in our U.K. and Europe reportable segment.
On October 15, 2019, the Company acquired 100% of the equity of Tulip Limited and its subsidiaries (together, “Tulip”) from Danish Crown AmbA for £311.3 million, or $393.3 million for cash. Tulip, which has subsequently changed its name to Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd. (“PPL”), is a leading, integrated prepared pork supplier headquartered in Warwick, U.K. This acquisition solidifies Pilgrim’s as a leading European food company, creating one of the largest integrated prepared foods businesses in the U.K. The PPL operations are included in our U.K. and Europe reportable 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, 2021, applies to our fiscal year and not the calendar year. Fiscal 2021 was a 52-week fiscal year.
We operate in three reportable segments: U.S., U.K. and Europe, and Mexico. We either produce or purchase for resale chicken and pork products through our operations in the U.S., the U.K. and continental Europe, and Mexico. We conduct separate operations in the U.S., the U.K., continental Europe, Puerto Rico and Mexico; however, for geographic reporting
purposes, we include Puerto Rico with our U.S. operations. See “Note 19. Reportable Segments” of our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information.
Products and Markets
Fresh Products Overview. Our fresh products consist of refrigerated (nonfrozen) whole or cut-up chicken, either pre-marinated or non-marinated, frozen whole chickens, breast fillets, mini breast fillets and prepackaged case-ready chicken, primary pork cuts, added value pork and pork ribs. Our case-ready chicken includes various combinations of freshly refrigerated, whole chickens, chicken parts in trays, bags or other consumer packs labeled and priced ready for the retail grocer’s fresh meat counter. Additionally, we are an important player in the live market in Mexico. In 2021, our fresh product sales accounted for 79.7%, 29.3%, and 87.6% of our total U.S., U.K. and Europe, and Mexico product sales, respectively.
Prepared Products Overview.. Our prepared products include 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 products include processed sausages, bacon, slow cooked, smoked meat, gammon joints, ready-to-cook variety of meat products, pre-packed meats, sandwich and deli counter meats, pulled pork balls, meatballs and coated foods. In 2021, our prepared foods products sales accounted for 9.9%, 56.3%, and 7.4% of our total U.S., U.K. and Europe, and Mexico chicken and pork sales, respectively.
Exported Products Overview. Exported 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 and primary pork cuts, hog heads and trotters frozen for distribution to export markets. In 2021, our export product sales accounted for 5.0% and 11.7% of our total U.S. and U.K. and Europe product sales, respectively.
Market Overview. Our foodservice market principally consists of chain restaurants, food processors, broad-line distributors and certain other institutions. Our retail market consists primarily of grocery store chains, wholesale clubs and other retail distributors. Our export market consists primarily of customers who purchase for distribution in the U.S., U.K. and continental Europe, or for export to Mexico, the Middle East, Asia, and other international markets.
Net Sales for Primary Product Lines and Markets
The following table sets forth, for the periods beginning with 2019, 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.
|December 26, 2021||December 27, 2020||December 29, 2019|
|U.S. reportable segment:|
|Fresh products||$||7,264,448 ||$||6,137,265 ||$||6,214,954 |
|Prepared foods||898,614 ||714,563 ||842,365 |
|Export||459,371 ||306,478 ||282,791 |
|Other products||491,446 ||337,711 ||296,606 |
|Total U.S. reportable segment||9,113,879 ||7,496,017 ||7,636,716 |
|U.K. and Europe reportable segment:|
|Fresh products||1,151,330 ||1,594,373 ||1,054,837 |
|Prepared foods||2,214,180 ||1,237,486 ||951,718 |
|Export||458,588 ||297,414 ||278,215 |
|Other products||109,964 ||145,019 ||99,023 |
|Total U.K. and Europe reportable segment||3,934,062 ||3,274,292 ||2,383,793 |
|Mexico reportable segment:|
|Fresh products||1,515,453 ||1,210,952 ||1,245,976 |
|Prepared foods||128,208 ||66,572 ||95,733 |
|Other products||85,856 ||44,068 ||47,001 |
|Total Mexico reportable segment||1,729,517 ||1,321,592 ||1,388,710 |
|Total net sales||$||14,777,458 ||$||12,091,901 ||$||11,409,219 |
Grains. The Company utilizes various raw materials in its operations, including corn, soybean meal and wheat, along with various other ingredients from which the Company produces its own formulated feeds. In 2021, corn, soybean meal and wheat accounted for approximately 52.9%, 41.0% and 6.0% of our feed costs, respectively. 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. We attempt to mitigate the impact of 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. To also manage this risk, we purchase derivative financial instruments. The Company has long-standing relationships with its sources of grain and other feed ingredients and expects to have an adequate supply for its present needs.
Live chicks. The Company’s chicken operations purchase one-day old chicks from a few major breeders. These chicks, when mature, serve as the grandparent and parent stock of the broilers that these operations process for consumption. Should breeder stock from its present suppliers not be available for any reason, the Company believes that it could obtain adequate breeder stock from other suppliers in the regions in which it operates.
Live pigs. The Company’s pork operations maintain a pig production base that makes up approximately 50.0% of the total number of pigs processed by the Company each year. Additionally, the Company’s pork operations procure live pigs for slaughter within a few days of purchase from numerous independent farmers throughout the U.K. Live pigs sourced from independent farmers make up approximately 50.0% of the total number of pigs processed by the Company each year. Although we generally expect adequate supply of live pigs in the U.K., there may be periods of imbalance in supply and demand.
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. As long as the Company continues to use its trademarks, they are renewed indefinitely. Some of the more significant owned or licensed trademarks used by the Company or its affiliates are Pilgrim’s®, Just BARE®, Gold’n Pump®, Gold Kist®, County Pride®, Pierce Chicken®, Pilgrim’s® Mexico, County Post®, Savoro, To-Ricos, Del Dia®, Moy Park, O’Kane, Richmond, Fridge Raiders and Denny.
The demand for our chicken products generally is greatest during the spring and summer months and lowest during the winter months. The demand for our pork products generally is higher during the summer and peaks during the winter primarily due to the holiday season.
Our two largest customers accounted for approximately 12.0% and 13.1% of our net sales in 2021 and 2020, respectively. No single customer accounted for ten percent or more of our net sales in either 2021 or 2020.
The chicken and pork industry in the U.S., the U.K., continental Europe and Mexico is highly competitive. The competitive factors in our business include price, product quality, product development, brand identification, breadth of product line and customer service. We believe that being a vertically integrated chicken company and having a fully integrated supply chain in the pork business provides us with long-term cost and quality advantages over non-vertically integrated and other processors. We utilize numerous advertising and marketing techniques to develop and strengthen trade and consumer awareness and increase brand loyalty for consumer products. 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. Although poultry and pork are relatively inexpensive in comparison with other meats, we compete indirectly with the producers of other meats and fish, since changes in the relative prices of these foods may alter consumer buying patterns.
Regulation and Environmental Matters
The poultry and pork industries are subject to government regulation, particularly in the health, workplace safety and environmental areas, including provisions relating to the discharge of materials into the environment, treatment and disposal of agricultural and food processing wastes, the use and maintenance of refrigeration systems, ammonia-based chillers, noise, odor and dust management, the operation of mechanized processing equipment and other operations, storm water, air emissions, treatment, storage and disposal of wastes, handling of hazardous substances and remediation of contaminated soil, surface water and groundwater, by the Centers for Disease Control, the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”), the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and state and local regulatory authorities in the U.S. and by similar governmental agencies in the U.K., continental Europe and 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 food processing facilities and feed mills in the U.K., continental Europe and Mexico are subject to on-site examination, inspection and regulation by government agencies that perform functions similar to those performed by the USDA and FDA.
The EPA, environmental authorities in the U.K., continental Europe and Mexico, 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.
In the U.K., all Moy Park poultry farms which exceed a threshold size of 40,000 birds placed are required to carry out activities in compliance with their environmental permits and they must use Best Available Techniques in order to achieve a high level of environmental protection. PPL’s sites are independently audited and certified by the British Retail Consortium standard. Many of PPL’s sites are certified by additional and traceability schemes including Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Assured, Soil Association, Organic Farmers and Growers and Assured Food Standards.
Human Capital Resources
As of December 26, 2021, we employed almost 59,400 persons. Our success is largely dependent on the skills, experience and efforts of our employees. We rely on an adequate number of skilled employees to serve in critical production roles, such as processing workers and operations supervisors. In managing our business, we focus on a number of human capital measures or objectives, which are rooted in our core values and include the following items:
Health and Safety. A core tenet of our Company is the promotion of a safe and healthy working environment. Key examples of our focus and commitment include:
•We engage with our team members through the use of safety committees and other safety initiatives to improve the overall safety of the workplace and advance a safety first culture.
•We train team members on how to identify physical hazards, conduct focused daily, monthly and annual physical hazard assessments at all facilities, ensure that all identified physical hazards are logged and ensure timely remediation.
•Leveraging third party experts, we conduct regular ergonomic assessments, ensure that all identified ergonomic issues are logged and ensure timely remediation.
•We conduct safety audits of all facilities on an annual basis. These audits include auditing the physical state of the plant, policies, safety culture and our occupational health clinics.
•Our efforts have resulted in year-over-year reductions in severe injuries, lost time incident rate and days away restricted or transferred of 13%, 6% and 8%, respectively.
•As discussed in “Part II, Item 7—Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations—Impact of COVID-19,” we have implemented and continue to implement numerous health and safety policies and procedures focused on reducing the spread of novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) and protecting our facility workers from risks of illness while maintaining our business continuity.
Diversity and Inclusion. We believe that promoting diversity and inclusion among our workforce helps to create a trusting and productive workplace. We encourage the management teams at each facility to hire from the local regions in which they are located. In addition:
•Our Equal Employment Opportunity Policy (“EEO Policy”) affirms our commitment to employ and support employees of all races, religions, colors, national origins, sexes, sexual orientations, gender identities and ages. Through the EEO Policy, we have been involved in diversity hiring initiatives and partnered with universities with an aim of recruiting from a diverse talent pool.
•We track our progress in our efforts to promote diversity and inclusion. For example, in 2021, women comprised 41%, 38% and 35% of our total workforce in the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, and Mexico, respectively, and 68% of our total workforce in the U.S. were minorities.
•Our management team members are expected to attend People First leadership training, which includes a model dedicated to training and awareness on diversity and inclusion.
•We provide workshops on diversity and inclusion for our employees and we engage in targeted recruitment at 20 of the nation’s largest historically black colleges and universities.
Retention and Career Development. We are committed to retaining talented employees at both production and management levels by offering competitive compensation and benefits, as well as leadership training and development opportunities.
•We strive to provide competitive pay to our team members and reward top performers. Our benefits offerings include a minimum paid time off and paid sick leave for salaried employees, life and disability insurance and Company-matching retirement plans.
•We have extensive leadership training programs, such as our Supervisor Development Program, created to help identify and develop production workers into frontline supervisors, the aforementioned People First Program, designed to equip frontline supervisors with the behavioral and technical skills needed to effectively lead their production teams and our Summit Program, designed to improve the skill set of our senior leadership team. We have found that recognizing our employees’ efforts through training for continued advancement strengthens their performance and helps with our goals to achieve business results. Our employees completed over 350,000 training hours during 2021 and over 330,000 training hours during 2020.
Community Support. We are focused on supporting the communities in which we operate and serve.
•Hometown Strong Initiative. During 2020, we launched our Hometown Strong initiative to help the communities in which we operate respond to the unexpected challenges on society, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the Hometown Strong initiative will provide consequential investment projects and help them prepare for unanticipated challenges and build for the future. For 2020, we committed to Hometown Strong donations of $20.0 million and during the year ended December 27, 2020 we recorded $15.0 million in incremental donations expense relating to this initiative.
•Tomorrow Fund. During 2019, we launched the Tomorrow Fund, a scholarship program designed to support the collegiate scholastic pursuits of our employees and their direct dependents. The Tomorrow Fund awards certain employees scholarships to an eligible university of their choice.
•Better Futures. During 2021, we launched Better Futures, the largest privately funded free community college program in rural America, offering free community college to our team members and their dependents. So far, nearly 400 team members or dependents have signed up and nearly 200 have already started their selected academic pathway.
Employee Relations. We respect our team members’ rights of association, including by joining labor unions and collective bargaining. Approximately 45.4% of our workforce are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. For additional information, see “Item 1A. Risk Factors - 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.”
The Company’s website is www.pilgrims.com. The Company makes available, free of charge, through its 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 SEC. The Company may use its website as a distribution channel of material company information. Financial and other important information regarding the Company is routinely posted on and accessible through the Company’s website at http://ir.pilgrims.com. Information contained on the Company’s website is not included as part of, or incorporated by reference into, this annual report.
Information about our Executive Officers
|Name||Age||Background and Experience||Dates|
|Fabio Sandri||50||President and Chief Executive Officer||September 2020 to Present|
|Matthew Galvanoni||49||Chief Financial Officer||March 2021 to Present|
Fabio Sandri was named the Chief Executive Officer in September 2020 and previously served as our Chief Financial Officer from June 2011 to March 2021. 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 Master of Business Administration degree 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.
Matthew Galvanoni was named the Chief Financial Officer in February 2021, effective March 2021. Prior to his appointment to the Company, Mr. Galvanoni served as Vice President, Finance, of Ingredion Incorporated, a leading global ingredients solution company, since 2016. Mr. Galvanoni joined Ingredion in 2012, serving in the role of Global Corporate Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, where he managed the company’s accounting-related and external financial reporting responsibilities. Mr. Galvanoni started his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in 1994 and subsequently held several financial leadership positions at Exelon Corporation, where he most recently served as Assistant Corporate Controller. Mr. Galvanoni graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Accounting degree and later received a Master of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
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.
Business and Operational Risk Factors
The COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on business and economic conditions have negatively affected, and could continue to negatively affect our business, results of operations, financial condition and the trading value of our securities.
We face risks related to outbreaks of public health crises, including epidemics and infectious diseases such as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The continued spread of COVID-19 and the emergence of new variants of the virus across the globe continues to impact economic activity worldwide by causing disruption and volatility in the global capital markets, as well as a sustained economic slowdown. National and local governments in the United States and around the world continue to implement measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its variants, including travel bans, prohibitions on group events and gatherings, shutdowns of certain businesses, quarantines, curfews, and recommendations to practice physical distancing. These preventative measures which have restricted and continue to restrict individuals’ daily activities and curtail or cease many businesses’ normal operations. We continue to monitor and work to comply with the COVID-19 guidelines from public health and governmental authorities concerning the prevention and spread of COVID-19 and its variants, as well as the protection of the health and safety of our personnel, including the April 28, 2020 executive order that designated meat and poultry processing plants as critical infrastructure. Implementing these measures, as well as the global economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic generally, has resulted in the adverse effects to our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity, including reduced activity at our businesses and limited availability and productivity among our workforce and suppliers, as noted below.
The COVID-19 outbreak has had, and a continuing outbreak or future outbreaks are likely to have, numerous adverse effects on our business and operations. As of February 18, 2022, all of our production facilities are operating, although some facilities have reduced production levels and outputs due to increased health and safety measures and current labor shortages experienced throughout both the U.S. and the U.K. There can be no assurance that the health and safety measures we have taken (which include adding temperature and symptom screening stations for employees prior to entering our facilities and increasing physical distancing of our employees) will eradicate the risks associated with working in a critical infrastructure industry, including but not limited to, infection of our employees or the temporary closure of a facility, which could, in turn, have a material adverse impact on our reputation, business, results of operations and financial condition.
We have and may continue to experience decreased production and sales due to the changing demand for food products. COVID-19 and the implementation of restricted living led to a shift in demand from restaurants to retail grocery stores, with consumers eating more at home due to stay-at-home orders during the pandemic. In our U.S. and Mexico businesses, demand for parts and whole-birds (typically bound for restaurants) and prepared foods (distributed, in part, to schools) declined, while our U.K. and European business, which is more retail focused, saw less of an impact. Although we were able to take steps to shift our production and meet the changing demand, we may be unable to effectively implement our plans in the future to adjust our supply of products, which could materially adversely impact our business and results of operations.
Our brand or reputation could be negatively impacted. The meat production industry has recently been the focus of negative press reports in light of the spread of COVID-19 at certain companies’ facilities. Although we have not been the focus of such reports, our brand or reputation could be negatively impacted by such reports.
In addition to the risks described above, the COVID-19 pandemic could have additional adverse effects on our business and financial condition, including, but not limited to, the following:
•a significant increase in the cost or the difficulty to obtain debt or equity financing, or to refinance our debt in the future, or the risk that we may be unable to meet the requirements of the covenants in our existing credit facilities, which could negatively affect our liquidity position and our ability to fund operations or future investment opportunities;
•an impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or intangible assets or a change in the useful life of definite-lived intangible assets;
•significant volatility or decline in the trading price of our securities; and
•our inability to execute strategic business activities including acquisitions and divestiture.
The situation surrounding COVID-19 remains fluid and the full extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic will negatively affect our results of operations, financial condition and cash flows will depend on future development in the countries where we operate, including the U.S., the U.K. and Mexico. Therefore, it is difficult to predict with certainty the full potential impact of the virus on the Company’s business, operations and financial condition.
Industry cyclicality can affect our earnings, especially due to fluctuations in commodity prices of feed ingredients, chicken and pork.
Profitability in the chicken and pork industries is materially affected by the commodity prices of feed ingredients and the market prices of chicken and pork, which are determined by supply and demand factors. As a result, the chicken and pork industries are 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 and pigs or deliver products. Consequently, there can be no assurance that the price of grains will not 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 attempt 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 for chicken and/or pork.
Outbreaks of livestock diseases in general and poultry and pig diseases in particular, including avian influenza and African swine fever, can significantly and adversely affect our ability to conduct our operations and the demand for our products.
We take precautions designed to ensure that our flocks and herds 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 and herds or elsewhere, could significantly affect the demand for our products or our ability to conduct our operations. Furthermore, an outbreak of disease could result in governmental restrictions on the import and export of our fresh chicken, fresh pork or other products to or from our suppliers, facilities or customers, or require us to destroy one or more of our flocks or herds. 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.
There have been recent outbreaks of both high- and low-pathogenic strains of avian influenza in the U.S. and the U.K., 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. or Mexico, there can be no assurance that outbreaks of these strains in other countries will not materially adversely affect international demand for poultry produced in our operating countries, and, if any of these strains were to spread to the U.S., the U.K. 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.
The outbreak of African swine fever in China during 2018 and 2019 and its subsequent spread across the world has had a significant effect on both the global supply of pork and on pork prices. Given its island status, the U.K. has an element of built-in biosecurity, but there are risks, mainly as a result of human movement of infected meat from the European Union. The National Pig Association and the British Meat Processors Association are pressing the U.K. government to increase the level of communication to travelers of the risks. The Company’s own pig production is geographically dispersed. In the event of an outbreak of African Swine Fever in the U.K., we believe the Company’s risks are limited to infection. However, 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 products become contaminated, we may be subject to product liability claims and product recalls. Such 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.
Poultry and pork products may be subject to contamination by disease-producing organisms, or pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella, generic E.coli, Yersinia enterocolitica and Staphylococcus aureus. These pathogens are generally found in the environment and 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. 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 products become contaminated, spoiled, are tampered with or are mislabeled, we may be subject to product liability claims and product recalls. A widespread product recall could result in significant losses due to the cost of a recall, the destruction of product inventory and lost sales due to the unavailability of product for a period of time. Such a product recall also could result in adverse publicity, damage to our reputation and a loss of consumer confidence in our products, which could have a material adverse effect on our business results.
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 from losses attributable to certain events, it may not adequately protect us from liability and expenses we incur in connection with such events.
Our foreign operations and commerce in international markets pose special risks to our business and operations.
We have significant operations and assets located in Mexico, the U.K. and continental 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, the U.K. and continental Europe are conducted through subsidiaries organized under non-U.S. laws. 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 these subsidiaries to make payments and distributions to us can be limited by terms of subsidiary financing arrangements and will be subject to, among other things, the laws applicable to these subsidiaries. In the past, these laws have not had a material adverse effect on the ability of these subsidiaries to make these payments and distributions. However, laws such as these may have a material adverse effect on the ability of these subsidiaries to make these payments and distributions in the future.
To conduct our operations, we regularly move data across national borders (including data related to business, financial, marketing and regulatory matters) and must comply with increasingly complex and rigorous regulatory standards enacted to protect business and personal data in the U.S. and elsewhere. For example, in 2018, the European Union (the “E.U.”) recently commenced enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (the “GDPR”). The GDPR imposes significant additional compliance obligations on companies regarding the handling of personal data and provides certain individual privacy rights to persons whose data is stored. The GDPR grants enforcement powers to certain E.U. regulators including extra-territorial powers in some cases. These enforcement powers enable regulators to conduct investigations and dawn raids, to issue penalties up to the greater of €20 million or 4% of worldwide turnover for the most serious violations, and to require changes to the way that organizations (including the Company) use personal data. Due to the geographic scope of our operations, the GDPR may increase our responsibility and liability in relation to personal data that we process, and we may be required to put in place additional mechanisms to minimize the risk of non-compliance with applicable privacy laws and regulations. Privacy laws such as the GDPR and similar laws and regulations are increasing in complexity and number, change frequently and sometimes conflict. In particular, as the E.U. states reframe their national legislation to harmonize with the GDPR, we will need
to monitor compliance with all relevant E.U. member states’ laws and regulations, including where permitted derivations from the GDPR are introduced. Additional laws may be enacted in U.S. states or at the U.S. federal level. Compliance with such existing, proposed and recently enacted laws and regulations can be costly and may necessitate the review and implementation of policies and processes relating to our collection, security, and use of data; any failure to comply with these regulatory standards could subject us to legal and reputational risks including proceedings against the Company by governmental entities or others, fines and penalties, damage to our reputation and credibility and could have a negative impact on our business and results of operations.
Historically, we have targeted international markets to generate additional demand for our products. In particular, given the general preference for white chicken meat by U.S. and U.K. consumers, we have targeted international markets for the sale of dark chicken meat and parts, such as chicken paws, which are generally not consumed in the U.S. or U.K. We have also targeted international markets for excess primary pork cuts and parts, such as hog heads and trotters, which are generally not consumed in the U.K. As part of this initiative, we have created a significant international distribution network into several markets in Mexico, the Middle East and Asia. Our success in these markets may be, and our success in recent periods has been, adversely affected by disruptions in export markets. A significant risk is disruption due to import restrictions and tariffs, other trade protection measures, and import or export licensing requirements regarding food products imposed by foreign countries. Significant political or regulatory developments in the jurisdictions in which we sell our products, such as those stemming from the presidential administration in the United States, are difficult to predict and may have a material adverse effect on us. For example, the implementation of new tariff schemes by various governments, such as those implemented by the United States and China in recent years, could increase the costs of our operations and ultimately increase the cost of products sold from one country into another country. In addition, disruptions may be caused by outbreaks of diseases, either in our flocks and herds 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.
Competition in the chicken and pork industries with other vertically integrated chicken or pork companies may make us unable to compete successfully in this industry, which could adversely affect our business.
Both the chicken and pork industries are highly competitive. In the U.S., Mexico, the U.K. and continental Europe, we primarily compete with other vertically integrated chicken and pork companies. In general, the competitive factors in these industries 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, 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 the Mexico retail and foodservice markets, where product differentiation has traditionally been limited, product quality and price have been the most critical competitive factors. In the U.K. and continental Europe retail and food service markets, key competitive factors include price, delivering consistent levels of the highest quality, service level and delivering strong innovation. The fresh U.K. and continental Europe market is almost exclusively retailer private label. The U.K. fresh market is almost exclusively sourced from within the U.K., making vertical integration a prerequisite for operating in that market. The U.K. prepared foods market is less exclusively sourced from within the U.K. so vertical integration is less of a consideration and competition is opened up to other processors, some of whom produce or source from abroad. Our success depends in part on our ability to manage costs and be efficient in the highly competitive poultry and pork industries, and our failure to manage costs and be efficient could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Changes in consumer preference and failure to maintain favorable consumer perception of our branded products could negatively impact our U.S. Prepared Foods and Pilgrim’s Food Masters businesses.
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 branded products. We strive to respond to consumer preferences and expectations, but we may not be successful in our efforts.
We could be adversely affected if consumers lose confidence in quality of certain food products or ingredients. Prolonged negative perceptions certain food products or ingredients could influence consumer preferences and acceptance of some of our products and marketing programs. Continued negative perceptions and failure to satisfy consumer preferences could materially and adversely affect our product sales, financial condition and results of operations. Our Pilgrim’s Food Masters business has a number of iconic brands with significant value; while we have recently increased the market share of our Just Bare® and Pilgrim’s® brands in the U.S. market. Maintaining and continually enhancing the value of these brands is critical to the success of our business. Brand value is based in large part on consumer perceptions. Success in promoting and enhancing brand value depends in large part on our ability to provide high-quality products. Brand value could diminish significantly due to a number of factors, including consumer perception that we have acted in an irresponsible manner, adverse
publicity about our products (whether or not valid), our failure to maintain the quality of our products, the failure of our products to deliver consistently positive consumer experiences or the products becoming unavailable to consumers.
Media campaigns related to food production; regulatory and customer focus on environmental, social and governance responsibility; and recent increased focus and attention by the U.S. government on market dynamics in the meat processing industry could expose us to additional costs or 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. In addition, regulators, stockholders, customers and other interested parties have focused increasingly on the environmental, social and governance practices of companies. This has led to an increase in regulations and may continue to cause us to be subject to additional regulations in the future. Our customers or other interested parties may also require us to implement certain environmental, social or governance procedures or standards before doing or continuing to do business with us. Also, the U.S. government has increased its focus on market dynamics within the meat industry. The U.S. government has inquired with the meat processing industry on matters such as market pricing to end consumers and market dynamics associated with the relationship between meat processors and the farming community. This increased attention on environmental, social and governance practices could cause us to incur additional compliance costs, divert management attention from operating our business, impair our access to capital among certain investors and subject us to litigation risk for disclosures we make and practices we adopt regarding these issues. This in turn could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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. We rely on information technology networks and systems, including the Internet, to process, transmit, and store electronic and financial information, to manage a variety of business processes and activities, and to comply with regulatory, legal, and tax requirements. We also depend on our information technology infrastructure for digital marketing activities and for electronic communications among our locations, personnel, customers, and suppliers. 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 cyber-attacks, 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. We have experienced and expect to continue to experience actual or attempted cyber-attacks of our information technology systems or networks. To date, none of these actual or attempted cyber-attacks has had a material effect on our operations or financial condition. For example, we determined on May 30, 2021 that we were the target of an organized cybersecurity attack (the “Cyberattack”) affecting some of the servers supporting our global IT systems. Upon learning of the intrusion, we contacted federal officials and activated our cybersecurity protocols, including voluntarily shutting down all affected systems to isolate the intrusion, limit the potential infection and preserve core systems. Restoring systems critical to production was prioritized. In addition, the encrypted backup servers, which were not affected by the Cyberattack, allowed for a return to full operations within two days. We incurred a loss of approximately $10.0 million related to the Cyberattack during the second quarter of 2021, which included an allocation of $2.4 million of the total $11.0 million ransom paid by our parent company. Our response, IT systems and encrypted backup servers allowed for a rapid recovery from the Cyberattack. As a result, the loss of food produced was limited to less than one day of production. We continue to cooperate with government officials regarding this incident. We are not aware of any evidence that any customer, supplier, employee or financial data has been compromised or misused as a result of the Cyberattack.
Our failure to maintain our cyber-security measures and keep abreast of new and evolving threats may make our systems vulnerable. The potential consequences of a material cyber-security incident include reputational damage, litigation with third parties, regulatory actions, disruption of plant operations, and increased cyber-security protection and remediation costs. There can be no assurance that we will be able to prevent all of the rapidly evolving forms of increasingly sophisticated and frequent cyber-attacks. Moreover, our efforts to address network security vulnerabilities may not be successful, resulting potentially in the theft, loss, destruction or corruption of information we store electronically, as well as unexpected interruptions, delays or cessation of service, any of which would cause harm to our business operations. 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 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. 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 in material damages, which could adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
For example, between September 2, 2016 and October 13, 2016, a series of purported class action lawsuits were brought against PPC and other defendants by and on behalf of direct and indirect purchasers of broiler chickens alleging violations of 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. In addition, on October 13, 2020, the Company announced that it had entered into a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) pursuant to which it (1) pled guilty to one count of conspiracy in restraint of competition involving sales of broiler chicken products in the U.S. in violation of the Section 1 of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and (2) paid an amended fine of $107.9 million. For additional information on these and other litigation matters, see Part II, Item 8, Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, “Note 20. Commitments and Contingencies” in this annual report. The consequences of the litigation matters PPC faces are inherently uncertain, and adverse actions, judgments or settlements in some or all of these matters has resulted and may in the future result in materially adverse monetary damages, fines, penalties, or injunctive relief against PPC. Any claims or litigation, even if fully indemnified or insured, could damage PPC’s reputation and make it more difficult to compete effectively or to obtain adequate insurance in the future.
We may not be able to successfully integrate the operations of companies we acquire or benefit from growth opportunities.
We continue to pursue selective acquisitions of complementary businesses, such as PPL, which we acquired in 2019, and Pilgrim’s Food Masters, which we acquired in 2021. 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. These opportunities 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.
We may not be able to successfully integrate any growth opportunities we may undertake in the future 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, the lack of experience in operating in the geographical market of the acquired business and any delays or difficulties encountered in connection with the integration of these businesses could adversely affect our business, results of operations and prospects.
The consolidation of customers and/or the loss of one or more of our largest customers could adversely affect 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.
Our two largest customers accounted for approximately 12.0% of our net sales in 2021. 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.
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 and pigs processed in our 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. For example, consumer concerns related to human health, climate change, resource conservation and animal welfare of animal-based protein sources have driven consumer interest in plant-based protein sources. Because we primarily produce chicken and pork products, we may be limited in our ability to respond to changes in consumer preferences towards other animal-based proteins or away from animal-based proteins entirely.
Climate change may have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations.
Global average temperatures are gradually increasing due to increased concentration of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which may contribute to significant changes in weather patterns around the globe and an increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters. Decreased agricultural productivity in certain regions of the world as a result of changing weather patterns may limit the availability or increase the cost of key agricultural commodities and natural resources, as well as raw materials such as corn, soybean meal and other feed ingredients, which are important sources of ingredients for our products, and could impact the food security of communities around the world. Increased frequency or duration of extreme weather conditions could also impair production capabilities, disrupt our supply chain or impact demand for our products. Increasing concern over climate change also may adversely impact demand for our products due to changes in consumer preferences and result in additional legal or regulatory requirements designed to reduce or mitigate the effects of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions on the environment. In addition, climate change could affect our ability to procure needed commodities at costs and in quantities we currently experience and may require us to make additional unplanned capital expenditures. Increased energy or compliance costs and expenses due to increased legal or regulatory requirements could be prohibitively costly and may cause disruptions in, or an increase in the costs associated with, the running of our production facilities. Furthermore, compliance with any such legal or regulatory requirements may require us to make significant changes to our business operations and strategy, which will likely incur substantial time, attention and costs. Even if we make changes to align ourselves with such legal or regulatory requirements, we may still be subject to significant fines if such laws and regulations are interpreted and applied in a manner inconsistent with our practices. The effects of climate change and legal or regulatory initiatives to address climate change could have a long-term adverse impact on our business and results of operations. We currently have outstanding Senior Notes that are linked to our achievement of targeted reductions in greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 2026. If we fail to meet these targeted reductions in 2026, the interest rate applied to these Senior Notes will increase. Finally, from time to time we establish and publicly announce goals and commitments to reduce our carbon footprint. If we fail to achieve or improperly report on our progress toward achieving our carbon emissions reduction goals and commitments, the resulting negative publicity could adversely affect consumer preference for our products.
Legal and Regulatory Risk Factors
Regulation, present and future, is a constant factor affecting our business.
Our operations will continue to be subject to or otherwise affected by federal, state and local governmental legislation and 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, including potential COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
Immigration reform continues to attract significant attention in the public arena and the U.S. Congress. 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.
Environmental, Health and Safety
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.
Additionally, 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; however, we can make no assurance that similar incidents will not arise in the future. 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.
We are subject to a number of anti-corruption laws, including the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”) and the U.K. Bribery Act (“UKBA”). 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 U.S. may be held liable for actions taken by their strategic or local partners or representatives.
The UKBA 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 UKBA also has wide jurisdiction. It covers any offense committed in the U.K., but proceedings can also be brought if a person who has a close connection with the U.K. commits the relevant acts or omissions outside the U.K. It defines a person with a close connection to include British citizens, individuals ordinarily resident in the U.K. and bodies incorporated in the U.K. The UKBA also provides that any organization that conducts part of its business in the U.K., even if it is not incorporated in the U.K., 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 U.K. and the associated person had no connection with the U.K.
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.
Despite our ongoing efforts to ensure compliance with the FCPA, the UKBA and similar laws, there can be no assurance that our directors, officers, employees, agents, third-party intermediaries and the companies to which we outsource certain of our business operations, have previously complied or will comply with those laws and our anti-corruption policies or that our compliance program will be sufficient to prevent or detect bribery, 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.
Our operations may be adversely impacted by Brexit.
On January 31, 2020, the U.K. withdrew from the E.U., which is commonly referred to as Brexit. A transition period ended on December 31, 2020, during which the U.K. and the E.U. negotiated the terms of the relationship between the U.K. and the E.U. going forward. Despite the implementation of the E.U.-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement beginning on January 1, 2021, it is still unclear how Brexit will ultimately impact relationships within the U.K. and between the U.K. and other countries on many aspects of fiscal policy, cross-border trade and international relations. The effects of and the perceptions as to the impact from the withdrawal of the U.K. from the E.U. has and may continue to adversely affect business activity and economic and market conditions in the U.K., Europe and globally, and could contribute to instability in global financial and foreign exchange markets, including volatility in the value of the pound sterling and the euro. In addition, Brexit could lead to additional political, legal and economic instability in the E.U. Any of these effects of Brexit, and others we cannot anticipate, could adversely affect our business in the U.K., as well as our financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. It is also unclear what long-term economic, financial, trade and legal implications the withdrawal of the U.K. from the E.U. will have and how such withdrawal will affect our customers and our operations in the U.K. and Europe. If the U.K. were to significantly alter its regulations affecting the food industry, we could face significant new costs. Any of the effects of Brexit could adversely affect our business, business opportunities, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. In addition, Brexit. will result in changes to the interactions that the Company has with regulators, as domestic regulators in the U.K. will no longer participate in the regulatory enforcement structure of the E.U. This may affect relationships that the Company has developed with its regulators to date.
Labor and Employment Risk Factors
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 26, 2021, we employed approximately 59,400 persons. Approximately 45.4% of our workforce are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Substantially all employees covered under collective bargaining agreements are covered under agreements that expire in 2021 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 an agreement, we may become subject to labor disruption at one or more of these locations, which could have an adverse effect on our financial results.
Loss of essential employees or material increase in employee turnover 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 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.
We also rely on an adequate supply of skilled employees at our processing and food facilities. Trained and experienced personnel in our industry are in high demand, and we have experienced high turnover and difficulty retaining employees with appropriate training and skills. We cannot predict whether we will be able to attract, motivate and maintain an adequate skilled workforce necessary to operate our existing and future facilities efficiently, or that labor expenses will not increase as a result of a shortage in the supply of skilled personnel, thereby adversely impacting our financial performance. While our industry generally operates with high employee turnover, any material increases in employee turnover rates (including turnover due to any potential government-mandated COVID-19 vaccinations) or any widespread employee dissatisfaction could also have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Stock Ownership and Financial Risk Factors
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, subject to restrictions on its voting power and actions in a stockholders agreement between JBS USA and us and our organization documents, JBS USA has and will have the ability to control our 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 seven members of our Board of Directors and the other holders of our common stock have the ability to elect up to two members of our Board of Directors.
JBS USA may have interests that are different from other shareholders and may vote in a way that may be adverse to our other shareholders’ interests. JBS USA’s concentration of ownership could also have the effect of delaying or preventing a change in control or otherwise discouraging a potential acquirer from attempting to obtain control of us, which could cause the market price of our common stock to decline or prevent our shareholders from realizing a premium over the market price for their common stock.
Our future financial and operating flexibility may be adversely affected by significant leverage.
On a consolidated basis, as of December 26, 2021, we had approximately $510.8 million in secured indebtedness, $2.7 billion of unsecured indebtedness and had the ability to borrow approximately $1.2 billion 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 (1) it could affect our ability to satisfy our obligations under our credit agreements, (2) 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, (3) our ability to obtain additional financing and to fund working capital, capital expenditures and other general corporate requirements in the future may be impaired; (4) we may be more highly leveraged than some of our competitors, which may place us at a competitive disadvantage, (5) our flexibility in planning for, or reacting to, changes in our business may be limited, (6) it may limit our ability to pursue acquisitions and sell assets and (7) 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, chicken and pork) 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.
The interest rates of our credit facilities are priced using a spread over LIBOR.
The London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), is the basic rate of interest used in lending between banks on the London interbank market and is widely used as a reference for setting the interest rate on loans globally. We typically use LIBOR as a reference rate in our term loans such that the interest due to our creditors pursuant to a term loan extended to us is calculated using LIBOR. Some of our term loan agreements and revolving credit facilities contain a stated minimum value for LIBOR, and as of December 27, 2020, the Company had $450.0 million in outstanding indebtedness tied to LIBOR.
In 2017, the U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (the “FCA”), which regulates LIBOR, announced that it intends to phase out LIBOR by the end of 2021. Subsequently, on March 5, 2021, the FCA and LIBOR’s administrator, ICE Benchmark Administration, Limited, announced that the publication of the most common tenors (overnight, one-month, three-month, six-month and 12-month U.S. dollar LIBOR) would cease immediately following publication of such interest rates on June 30, 2023, and moreover, that publication of all other currency and tenor variants would cease immediately after December 31, 2021. The FCA and other regulators and have stated that they welcome the LIBOR administrator’s action, and issued supervisory guidance emphasizing that, despite any continued publication of U.S. dollar LIBOR through June 30, 2023, on new contracts using U.S. dollar LIBOR should be entered into after December 31, 2021. An extended cessation date for most U.S. dollar LIBOR tenors would mean that many legacy U.S. dollar LIBOR contracts would terminate before related LIBOR rates cease to be published and will allow for more time for existing contracts to mature and provide additional time to continue to prepare for the transition from LIBOR. Although this extension provides some sense of timing, it is unclear whether or not LIBOR will cease to exist at that time, or if new methods of calculating LIBOR will be established such that it continues to exist after 2021 or if replacement conventions will be developed. The U.S. Federal Reserve, in conjunction with the Alternative
Reference Rates Committee, a steering committee comprised of large U.S. financial institutions, is considering replacing U.S. dollar LIBOR with a new index calculated by short-term repurchase agreements, backed by Treasury securities (“SOFR”). SOFR is observed and backward-looking, which stands in contrast with LIBOR under the current methodology, which is an estimated forward-looking rate and relies, to some degree, on the expert judgment of submitting panel members. Given that SOFR is a secured rate backed by government securities, it will be a rate that does not take into account bank credit risk (as is the case with LIBOR). Whether or not SOFR attains market traction as a LIBOR replacement tool remains in question. As such, the future of LIBOR at this time is uncertain. At this time, due to a lack of consensus existing as to what rate or rates may become accepted alternatives to LIBOR, it is impossible to predict the effect of any such alternatives on our liquidity. However, if LIBOR ceases to exist, we may need to renegotiate our credit agreements that utilize LIBOR as a factor in determining the interest rate to replace LIBOR with the new standard that is established. Additionally, these changes may have an adverse impact on the value of or interest earned on any LIBOR-based marketable securities, loans and derivatives that are included in our financial assets and liabilities.
Impairment in the carrying value of goodwill or other identifiable intangible assets could negatively affect our operating results.
We have a significant amount of goodwill and identifiable intangible assets on our Consolidated Balance Sheets. Under the accounting principles generally accepted in the U.S. (“U.S. GAAP”), goodwill and other identifiable intangible assets with indefinite lives 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. For indefinite-lived intangible assets, an impairment loss is recognized if the carrying amount of an indefinite-lived intangible asset exceeds the estimated fair value of that intangible asset. Identified intangible assets with definite lives are tested for recoverability whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that their carrying amount may not be recoverable.
General Risk Factors
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. Moreover, climate change, including the impact of global warming, has resulted in risks that include changes in weather conditions, extreme weather events and adverse impacts on agricultural production, as well as potential regulatory compliance risks, all of which could have a material adverse effect on our results of operations, financial condition and liquidity.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
Our main operating facilities are as follows:
Number of Facilities(a)
|Unit of Measure||Average Capacity Utilization|
|Fresh processing facilities ||35||1||36 ||8.8 million||Birds per day||86.6 ||%|
|Prepared foods facilities ||13 ||2 ||15 ||31.9 million|| Tons per year||80.0 ||%|
|Hatcheries ||47 ||1 ||48 ||3.3 billion|| Eggs per year||82.6 ||%|
Other operation facilities(c)
|48 ||2 ||50 ||16.9 million|| Tons per year||70.2 ||%|
|Grain elevator ||1 ||— ||1 ||8.6 million|| Bushels per year||38.8 ||%|
|Fresh processing facilities ||3 ||— ||3 ||11,133|| Pigs per day||82.6 ||%|
|Prepared foods facilities ||10 ||— ||10 ||250,632||Tons per year||72.3 ||%|
Other operation facilities(d)
|2||0||2 ||11,023 ||Pigs per day||100.0 ||%|
|Fresh processing facilities||1 ||— ||1 ||121 ||Lambs per day||100.0 ||%|
|Prepared foods facilities||1 ||— ||1 ||9,171 ||Tons per year||50.1 ||%|
|Prepared Meals Operations:|
|Prepared foods facilities||5||4||9 ||296,990 ||Tons per year||64.8 ||%|
|Distribution Centers and Other||11 ||20 ||31 ||N/A||N/A|
(a)Substantially all of our U.S. property, plant and equipment is used as collateral for our secured U.S. credit facility. See Part II, Item 8, Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, “Note 13. Debt.”
(b)Capacity and utilization numbers do not include idled facilities.
(c)Other facilities in the chicken operations includes feed mills, protein conversion and rendering facilities, and pet food facilities in the U.S.
(d) Other facilities in the pork operations includes company-owned pig farms in the U.K.
(e) Facilities in Lamb Operations are from the acquisition of Randall Parker Foods and are in the U.K.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
The information required with respect to this item can be found in Part II, Item 8, Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements, “Note 20. Commitments and Contingencies” in this annual report and is incorporated by reference into this Item 3.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for the Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market (“Nasdaq”) under the symbol “PPC.”
The Company estimates that there were approximately 59,300 holders (including individual participants in security position listings) of the Company’s common stock as of February 18, 2022.
The Company has no current intention to pay any 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. In addition, the terms of 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, which could in turn impair our ability to pay dividends to our stockholders. See "Note 13. Debt” of our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information.
The graph below shows a comparison from December 25, 2016 through December 26, 2021 of the cumulative 5-year total stockholder return of holders of the Company’s common stock with the cumulative total returns of the Russell 2000 index and a customized peer group of three companies: 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 $100 on December 25, 2016 and tracks it through December 26, 2021.
The graph covers the period from December 25, 2016 to December 26, 2021, and reflects the performance of the Company’s single class of common stock. The stock price performance represented by this graph is not necessarily indicative of future stock performance.
|PPC||$||100.00 ||$||115.25 ||$||163.70 ||$||106.75 ||$||83.40 ||$||136.75 ||$||178.56 ||$||92.13 ||$||106.70 ||$||123.31 ||$||153.17 |
|Russell 2000||100.00 ||104.99 ||114.65 ||123.43 ||102.02 ||119.35 ||128.06 ||111.44 ||153.62 ||180.56 ||176.39 |
|Peer Group||100.00 ||100.58 ||121.12 ||110.95 ||103.94 ||129.40 ||148.14 ||122.27 ||127.62 ||141.06 ||153.06 |
Item 6. [Reserved]
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
We are one of the largest chicken producers in the world, and as a vertically integrated company, we are able to control every phase of the production process, which helps us manage food safety and quality, control margins and improve customer service. This gives us the opportunity to continue to create growth and development opportunities, further increasing our position as a leading domestic and global protein company. With the acquisition of the specialty meats and ready meals operations of Kerry Group plc (“Pilgrim’s Food Masters” or “PFM”), Pilgrim’s Pride Ltd. (“PPL”) and Moy Park in 2021, 2019 and 2017, respectively, we solidified ourselves as a leading European food company while diversifying our product mix with introduction into the pork market and through leading, branded protein products in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. With the acquisition of GNP in 2017, we further solidified ourselves as a leading poultry company within the U.S. See “Note 2. Business Acquisitions” of our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this annual report for additional information relating to these acquisitions.
We reported net income attributable to Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation of $31.0 million, or $0.13 per diluted common share, and profit before tax totaling $92.4 million, for 2021. These operating results included gross profit of $1.4 billion and generated $326.5 million of cash from operations. We generated operating margins of 1.4% with operating margins of (0.2)%, 0.0% and 13.2% in our U.S., U.K. and Europe, and Mexico reportable segments, respectively. During 2021, we generated EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA of $613.0 million and $1.3 billion, respectively. A reconciliation of net income to EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA is included later in “Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” in this annual report.
As discussed in “Note 20. Commitments and Contingencies”, we entered into agreements during 2021 to settle all claims made by two consolidated plaintiff classes in the litigation styled In re Broiler Chicken Antitrust Litigation as well as various direct action complaints filed by individual purchaser entities (“DAPs”). The $609.8 million cost of the consolidated settlements, the DAP settlements and probable future DAP settlements are included in Selling, general and administrative expense in the Consolidated Statement of Income for the year ended December 26, 2021. In addition, as discussed below under “Hometown Strong Initiative”, we launched an initiative during 2020 to support the communities in which we operate with unexpected challenges, such as the novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) pandemic, and as a result, we recorded $15.0 million and $1.0 million in donation expense related to this initiative during 2020 and 2021, respectively. Adjusted net income for the year ended December 26, 2021, which excludes items shown in the “Reconciliation of Adjusted Net Income”, was $557.4 million.
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 applies to our fiscal year and not the calendar year. Fiscal 2021 and 2020 were 52-week accounting cycles.
Unsolicited Offer from JBS to Purchase Outstanding Shares of PPC Common Stock
On September 20, 2021, the Company announced that its board of directors had formed a special committee of independent directors (“Special Committee”) to review and evaluate the previously announced unsolicited proposal received on August 12, 2021 from JBS to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of PPC that JBS does not currently own. On February 4, 2022, the Special Committee provided an update to the full board of directors on the status of the discussions with JBS. After thorough review of the proposal from JBS in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, on October 29, 2021, the Special Committee informed JBS that it would not support the JBS proposal unless JBS significantly increased its purchase price. On November 15, 2021, JBS offered to increase its purchase price from $26.50 per share to $28.50 per share. The Special Committee, in consultation with its financial and legal advisors, determined that the revised proposal from JBS does not appropriately value the shares of PPC owned by shareholders other than JBS, and again informed JBS that the Special Committee would not support the JBS proposal unless JBS significantly increased its purchase price. On January 12, 2022, JBS informed the Special Committee that it is continuing to evaluate the Special Committee’s response to the JBS proposal and is considering whether to further revise the terms of its proposal. On February 17, 2022, JBS withdrew its proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of PPC not owned by JBS or its subsidiaries.
Pilgrim’s Food Masters Acquisition
On September 24, 2021, the Company acquired 100% of the equity of the specialty meats and ready meals businesses of Kerry Group plc for £695.3 million, or $954.1 million, subject to customary working capital adjustments. The acquisition was funded with the Company's recent senior notes offering and borrowings under the credit facility. The operations have since been renamed to Pilgrim’s Food Masters.
The specialty meats business is a leading manufacturer of branded and private label meats, meat snacks and food-to-go products in the U.K. and the Republic of Ireland. The ready meals business is a leading ethnic chilled and frozen ready meals business in the U.K. The combined businesses produced over £725 million in annual sales during the year ended December 31, 2020 and have more than 4,000 team members.
The results of operations of the acquired business since September 24, 2021 are included in the Company’s Consolidated Statements of Income. Net sales and net income generated by the acquired business during 2021 totaled $293.6 million and $2.3 million, respectively.
The acquisition solidifies Pilgrim's as a leading European food company. The acquired operations are included in the Company's U.K. and Europe reportable segment.
U.K. Economic Conditions
During the second half of 2021, we experienced significant challenges in the U.K. economic environment. We were confronted with severe labor shortages as European Union workers returned to their home countries following Brexit, affecting our ability to process, pack and transport products. In addition, we also faced significant cost pressure from feed ingredients - specifically oils and micronutrients - and increased costs for utilities, logistics, chemicals, labor and packaging. Our U.K. pork operations also had to overcome low hog prices resulting from an oversupply in Europe. Although chicken and pork sales were stable or at increased levels, these sales were generated at significantly reduced margins.
We have responded to these challenges by opening negotiations with customers to recoup extraordinary costs we have experienced. We also continue to focus on operational initiatives that aim to deliver labor efficiencies, better agricultural performance and improved yields.
Impact of COVID-19
The extensive impact of the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has resulted and will likely continue to result in disruptions to the global economy, as well as businesses and capital markets around the world. In an effort to halt the outbreak of COVID-19, a number of countries, states, counties and other jurisdictions imposed various measures, including but not limited to, voluntary and mandatory quarantines, stay-at-home orders, travel restrictions, limitations on gatherings of people, reduced operations and extended closures of businesses.
As the global spread of the virus began to accelerate late in March 2020, we began to experience adverse impacts to our business and financial results. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic included disruptions in supply chain, an increase in both broiler and chick costs and an increase in payroll and benefits costs. As the various mitigation efforts implemented across the globe began to take effect, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our financial results generally decreased because of increased demand for our products at retail grocery stores and quick service restaurants and our ability to meet this demand through our transitioned business operations, as further discussed below. In 2021, we experienced intermittent impacts as noted above associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe that we will continue to experience intermittent disruptions to our business due to the COVID-19 pandemic into 2022.
The impact of COVID-19 and measures to prevent its spread have affected and continue to affect our business in a number of ways.
•Our workforce. Employee health and safety is our priority. As an essential business in a critical infrastructure industry, we continue to produce chicken and pork products, while coordinating with and implementing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, and local and regional Departments of Health in an effort to keep our employees safe and healthy. Measures we implemented during the height of the pandemic include, but are not limited to: increasing physical distancing of our employees, where possible, by staggering start and shift breaks, placing on-site tents to create more space for employees at break and at meal times, and installing physical barriers to distance employees while working on production lines; adding temperature and symptom screening stations for employees prior to entering our facilities; increasing personal hygiene practices and providing our employees additional personal protective equipment and sanitation stations; and increasing sanitation of our facilities. In the U.S., we provided appreciation bonuses to eligible employees in April and May of 2020 and expanded certain sick leave policies to provide more flexibility. In addition, we implemented global travel restrictions and work-from-home policies for employees who have the ability to work remotely. Finally, as COVID-19 vaccinations became more readily available in the first quarter of 2021, we strongly encouraged our employees to become vaccinated through sponsored vaccination clinics at our facilities and monetary bonuses to our employees once they completed the recommended vaccination regimen. We have continued to support our employees and their family members to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
•Our operations. All of our production facilities continued to operate, although some facilities reduced production levels and outputs due to increased health and safety measures, employee absenteeism, and as a consequence of the decline in demand by restaurants and other foodservice businesses. To date, we have not experienced a material impact from a plant closure and our facilities have largely been exempt from government closure orders.
•Demand for our products. In early 2021, COVID-19 continued to affect demand for our products. In our U.S. and Mexico businesses, demand for parts and whole-birds (typically bound for restaurants) and prepared foods (distributed, in part, to schools) declined, while our U.K. and Europe business, which is more retail focused, has generally seen less of an impact. In an effort to counter the adverse effects of COVID-19, we have transitioned, where commercially reasonable and possible to do so, our business operations to be in the best position to supply COVID-19 market demands. Those efforts included transferring live supply to case ready, shifting production form and mix from foodservice to retail, increasing capacity utilization of retail packaging equipment, and analyzing export positions. However, as global vaccination levels increased and governmental restrictions eased, we noted the trend towards pre-pandemic levels of demand at retail grocery stores and restaurants.
•Liquidity. Our liquidity position is strong and we took additional measures in 2020 to increase liquidity to prepare for the challenging environment.
•Foreign currency exchange rates and commodity prices. During the year ended December 26, 2021, we experienced increased volatility in foreign currency exchange rates and commodity prices, in part related to the uncertainty from COVID-19, as well as actions taken by governments and central banks in response to COVID-19.
•CARES Act. On March 27, 2020, the U.S. government enacted the CARES Act, which included modifications to the limitation on business interest expense and net operating loss provisions, and provided a payment delay of employer payroll taxes during 2020 after the date of enactment. We delayed the payment of $52 million in employer payroll taxes otherwise due in 2020. The first 50% was paid on December 31, 2021 and the remaining 50% is due and payable by December 31, 2022.
Our profitability is materially affected by the commodity prices of feed ingredients and chicken. Our U.S. and Mexico reportable segments use corn and soybean meal as the main ingredients for feed production, while our U.K. and Europe reportable segment uses wheat, soybean meal and barley as the main ingredients for feed production.
During 2021, chicken prices were higher than average for most of the year. The jumbo cutout entered the first quarter slightly above the five-year average before increasing to new five-year highs and remained above the historical range through the end of the year. During the first quarter of 2021, chicken production paced at a level below that of the first quarter of 2020 as fewer egg sets and reduced hatchability rates contributed to fewer chickens processed. The year-over-year decline in production was paired with robust demand for chicken at retail, as well as the continued improvement of foodservice demand for chicken. As a result, chicken supply did not pace with improved demand, resulting in continued cold storage stock draw downs and increased market prices. From the second quarter of 2021 through the year ended December 26, 2021, broiler production posted year-over-year gains from both increased headcounts and average liveweights. Sustained demand for retail chicken products and the continued improvements in foodservice demand pressured available supplies despite the production gains. As a result, chicken prices remained well supported throughout the year, even displayed counter-seasonal increases in mid-third quarter and late fourth quarter, leading to new five-year highs.
While chicken prices have remained well supported in 2021, pricing throughout 2022 will be influenced by the development of both retail and foodservice demand in light of factors such as consumer and governmental responses to the spread of COVID-19 variants, uncertainty surrounding the general economy and protein supply due to labor availability and chicken hatchability.
We believe sustainability involves continuously improving social responsibility, economic viability and environmental stewardship. We are committed to helping society meet the global challenge of feeding a growing population in a responsible matter.
Environmental Stewardship. We were the first major meat and poultry company in the world to set a net zero greenhouse gas emissions target by 2040, demonstrating our leadership and dedication to improving the efficiency of our operations and supporting producers to reduce our environmental footprint. In support of this initiative, in April 2021, we
issued $1.0 billion of sustainability-linked bonds, which require us to reduce our global greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 30% by 2030. We are ahead of our targeted reductions as we close out 2021.
Social Responsibility. Safety of our team members is a condition at Pilgrim’s. The health of our workforce was our top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and we implemented hundreds of safety measures within our facilities, constantly evolving our operations as needed. To support the communities where our team members live and work, we invested more than $20 million in local projects focused on alleviating food insecurity, strengthening long-term community infrastructure and well-being and aiding COVID-19 emergency response and relief efforts through our Hometown Strong initiative. Finally, ensuring the well-being of animals under our care is an uncompromising commitment at Pilgrims. We continually strive to improve our welfare efforts through the use of new technologies and the implementation of standards that meet and exceed regulatory requirements and industry guidelines.
Hometown Strong Initiative
The Hometown Strong initiative was developed in order to help the communities in which we operate respond to the unexpected challenges on society, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe the Hometown Strong initiative will provide consequential investment projects for a lasting impact on these communities and help them prepare for unanticipated challenges and build for the future. We recognized $15.0 million and $1.0 million of donations expense related to this initiative during 2020 and 2021, respectively.
Potential Impact of Tariffs, Labor Shortages and Freight Costs
We continue to monitor recent trade and tariff activity and its potential impact to exports and inputs costs across our reportable segments. Currently, we are experiencing impacts to domestic and export prices of chicken resulting from uncertainty in trade policies, increased tariffs, labor shortages and increased freight costs. With the implementation of the EU-U.K Trade and Cooperation Agreement, there is uncertainty regarding the processing of imports and administration costs that will follow. This could lead to potential new tariffs and regulations from both the European Union and the U.K. We are unable to give any assurance as to the scope, duration, or impact of any changes in trade policies or tariffs, how successful any mitigation efforts will be, or the extent to which mitigation will be necessary, and accordingly, changes in trade policies and increased tariffs could have a material adverse effect on our business and results of operations. Also, continued congestion at ports and other transportation challenges could adversely affect our U.S. export business.
We operate in three reportable segments: the U.S., the U.K. and Europe, and Mexico. We measure segment profit as operating income. Corporate expenses are allocated to the Mexico and U.K. and Europe reportable segments 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 19. Reportable Segments” of our Consolidated Financial Statements included in this annual report.
Results of Operations
2021 Compared to 2020
Net sales. Net sales for 2021 increased $2.7 billion, or 22.2%, from $12.1 billion generated in 2020 to $14.8 billion generated in 2021. The following table provides additional information regarding net sales:
| || ||Change from 2020|
|Sources of net sales||2021||Amount||Percent|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||9,113,879 ||$||1,617,862 ||21.6 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||3,934,062 ||659,770 ||20.2 ||%|
|Mexico||1,729,517 ||407,925 ||30.9 ||%|
|Total net sales||$||14,777,458 ||$||2,685,557 ||22.2 ||%|
U.S. Reportable Segment. U.S. net sales generated in 2021 increased $1.6 billion, or 21.6%, from U.S. net sales generated in 2020 primarily because of an increase in net sales per pound, contributing $1.7 billion, or 22.1 percentage points, to the increase in net sales. Unit sales prices have increased in the fourth quarter of 2021 as we attempted to recover the increased costs, primarily for feed ingredients, energy, transportation and packaging materials, that we have incurred in growing and processing chicken. This increase in net sales per pound was partially offset by $40.2 million, or 0.5 percentage points, due to a decrease in sales volume.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2021 increased $659.8 million, or 20.2%, from U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2020, primarily because of the recently acquired PFM operations, as well as an increase in net sales by our existing U.K. and Europe operations. The impact of the acquired business contributed $293.6 million, or 9.0 percentage points, to the increase in net sales. The increase in our existing U.K. and Europe operations was driven by an increase due to the favorable impact of foreign currency translation, an increase in sales volume and an increase in net sales per pound, contributing $248.8 million, or 7.6 percentage points, $111.7 million, or 3.4 percentage points, and $5.7 million, or 0.2 percentage points, respectively, to the increase in net sales. The increase in sales volume was primarily driven by increased sales in foodservice. The increase in net sales per pound was primarily driven by increased feed costs.
Mexico Reportable Segment. Mexico sales generated in 2021 increased $407.9 million, or 30.9%, from Mexico sales generated in 2020 primarily because of an increase in net sales per pound and the favorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement, partially offset by a decrease in sales volume. The increase in net sales per pound and the impact of the favorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement contributed $337.3 million, or 25.6 percentage points, and $99.3 million, or 7.5 percentage points, to the increase in net sales. Partially offsetting these increases in net sales by $28.7 million, or 2.2 percentage points, was a decrease in sales volume.
Gross profit. Gross profit increased by $527.6 million, or 62.9%, from $0.8 billion generated in 2020 to $1.4 billion generated in 2021. The following tables provide gross profit information:
| || ||Change from 2020||Percent of Net Sales|
|Components of gross profit||2021||Amount||Percent||2021||2020|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|Net sales||$||14,777,458 ||$||2,685,557 ||22.2 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|Cost of sales||13,411,631 ||2,157,926 ||19.2 ||%||90.8 ||%||93.1 ||%|
|Gross profit||$||1,365,827 ||$||527,631 ||62.9 ||%||9.2 ||%||6.9 ||%|
|Sources of gross profit||2021||Change from 2020|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||925,920 ||$||425,455 ||85.0 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||164,224 ||(54,103)||(24.8)||%|
|Mexico||275,629 ||156,698 ||131.8 ||%|
|Total gross profit||$||1,365,827 ||$||527,631 ||62.9 ||%|
|Sources of cost of sales||2021||Change from 2020|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||8,187,959 ||$||1,192,407 ||17.0 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||3,769,838 ||713,873 ||23.4 ||%|
|Mexico||1,453,888 ||251,227 ||20.9 ||%|
|Total cost of sales||$||13,411,631 ||$||2,157,926 ||19.2 ||%|
(a)Our Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of our company and our majority owned subsidiaries. We eliminate all significant affiliate accounts and transactions upon consolidation.
U.S. Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2021 increased $1.2 billion, or 17.0%, from cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2020. Cost of sales increased primarily because of increased cost per pound sold of $1.2 billion, or 17.5 percentage points, partially offset by a decrease in sales volume of $37.5 million, or 0.5 percentage points. Included in the increase in cost per pound sold and increased sales volume was an $870.2 million increase in live input costs, a $158.7 million increase in prepared foods purchases, a $90.5 million increase in payroll costs, a $45.0 million increase in outside service costs primarily from increased outside processing labor, a $24.8 million increase in depreciation charges and an $18.9 million increase in freight charges. Included in the $870.2 million increase in live input costs were a $746.5 million increase in feed costs, $73.5 million increase in chick costs, and a $35.0 million increase in contract grower costs. Other factors affecting U.S. cost of sales were individually immaterial.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2021 increased $713.9 million, or 23.4%, from cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2020 primarily because of costs incurred by the acquired PFM operations and from increases in cost of sales incurred by our existing U.K. and Europe operations. Cost of sales related to the existing U.K. and Europe operations increased due to an increase in sales volume, an increase in cost per pound sold and the unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation and the impact of the acquired businesses of $323.5 million, or 10.6 percentage points, $100.5 million, or 3.3 percentage points, and $289.9 million, or 9.5 percentage points, respectively. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
Mexico Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2021 increased $251.2 million, or 20.9%, from cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2020 primarily because of an increase in cost per pound sold and the unfavorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement of $193.8 million, or 16.2 percentage points, and $83.5 million, or 6.9 percentage points, respectively. Partially offsetting these increases in cost of sales was a decrease of $26.1 million, or 2.2 percentage points in sales volume. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
Operating income. Operating income decreased $34.3 million, or 14.0%, from $245.5 million generated for 2020 to $211.2 million generated for 2021. The following tables provide operating income information:
| || ||Change from 2020||Percent of Net Sales|
|Components of operating income||2021||Amount||Percent||2021||2020|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|Gross profit||$||1,365,827 ||$||527,631 ||62.9 ||%||9.2 ||%||6.9 ||%|
|SG&A expenses||1,148,861 ||556,251 ||93.9 ||%||7.8 ||%||4.9 ||%|
|Restructuring activities||5,802 ||5,679 ||4,617.1 ||%||— ||%||— ||%|
|Operating income||$||211,164 ||$||(34,299)||(14.0)||%||1.4 ||%||2.0 ||%|
| || ||Change from 2020|
|Sources of operating income||2021||Amount||Percent|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.K. and Europe||(627)||(103,361)||(100.6)||%|
|Mexico||228,773 ||155,894 ||213.9 ||%|
|Total operating income||$||211,164 ||$||(34,299)||(14.0)||%|
|Sources of SG&A expenses||2021||Change from 2020|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||942,956 ||$||511,868 ||118.7 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||159,049 ||43,579 ||37.7 ||%|
|Mexico||46,856 ||804 ||1.7 ||%|
|Total SG&A expense||$||1,148,861 ||$||556,251 ||93.9 ||%|
U.S. Reportable Segment. Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2021 increased $511.9 million, or 118.7%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2020 primarily from an increase of $470.7 million in litigation settlements and a $24.0 million increase in professional fees mainly due to increased legal representation services. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2021 increased $43.6 million, or 37.7%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2020 primarily because of expenses incurred by the acquired PFM operations and an increase in SG&A expense incurred from our existing U.K. and Europe operations. The increase in SG&A expense in our existing U.K. and Europe was mainly due to transactions costs related to the acquisition of PFM and an increase in contract labor services. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
Mexico Reportable Segment. SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2021 increased $0.8 million, or 1.7%, from SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2020. Factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
Interest expense. Consolidated interest expense increased 15.6% to $145.8 million in 2021 from $126.1 million in 2020, primarily from a loss on early extinguishment of debt recognized as a component of interest expense of $24.7 million. As a percent of net sales, interest expense in 2021 and 2020 was 1.0% and 1.0%, respectively.
Income taxes. Our consolidated income tax expense in 2021 was $61.1 million, compared to income tax expense of $66.8 million in 2020. The decrease in income tax expense in 2021 resulted from a decrease in pre-tax income during 2021, partially offset by the recognition of a $6.5 million reserve recognized against certain U.K. interest deductions and the recognition of deferred tax expense of $32.0 million related to the enactment of the U.K. tax rate changed to 25% effective April 1, 2023.
2020 Compared to 2019
Net sales. Net sales for 2020 increased $682.7 million, or 6.0%, from $11.4 billion generated in 2019 to $12.1 billion generated in 2020. The following table provides additional information regarding net sales:
| || ||Change from 2019|
|Sources of net sales||2020||Amount||Percent|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.K. and Europe||3,274,292 ||890,499 ||37.4 ||%|
|Total net sales||$||12,091,901 ||$||682,682 ||6.0 ||%|
U.S. Reportable Segment. U.S. net sales generated in 2020 decreased $140.7 million, or 1.8%, from U.S. net sales generated in 2019 primarily because of a decrease in net sales per pound, contributing $188.2 million, or 2.4 percentage points, to the decrease in net sales. This decrease in net sales per pound was partially offset by $47.5 million, or 0.6 percentage points, due to an increase in sales volume.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2020 increased $890.5 million, or 37.4%, from U.K. and Europe sales generated in 2019, primarily because of the recently acquired PPL operations, partially offset by a decrease in net sales by our existing U.K. and Europe operations. The impact of the acquired business contributed $1.1 billion, or 44.3 percentage points, to the increase in net sales. The decrease in our existing U.K. and Europe operations was driven by a decrease in sales volume and a decrease in net sales per pound, contributing $159.6 million, or 6.7 percentage points, and $14.5 million, or 0.6 percentage points, respectively, to the decrease in net sales. These decreases in sales volume and net sales per pound were partially offset by $8.0 million, or 0.4 percentage points, due to the favorable impact of foreign currency translation.
Mexico Reportable Segment. Mexico sales generated in 2020 decreased $67.1 million, or 4.8%, from Mexico sales generated in 2019 primarily because of the unfavorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement and a decrease in sales volume, partially offset by an increase in net sales per pound. The impact of the unfavorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement and decreased sales volume contributed $154.9 million, or 11.1 percentage points, and $22.1 million, or 1.6 percentage points, to the decrease in net sales. Partially offsetting these decreases in net sales by $109.9 million, or 7.9 percentage points, was an increase in net sales per pound.
Gross profit. Gross profit decreased by $232.2 million, or 21.7%, from $1.1 billion generated in 2019 to $838.2 million generated in 2020. The following tables provide gross profit information:
| || ||Change from 2019||Percent of Net Sales|
|Components of gross profit||2020||Amount||Percent||2020||2019|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|Net sales||$||12,091,901 ||$||682,682 ||6.0 ||%||100.0 ||%||100.0 ||%|
|Cost of sales||11,253,705 ||914,880 ||8.8 ||%||93.1 ||%||90.6 ||%|
|Gross profit||$||838,196 ||$||(232,198)||(21.7)||%||6.9 ||%||9.4 ||%|
|Sources of gross profit||2020||Change from 2019|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.K. and Europe||218,327 ||46,576 ||27.1 ||%|
|Elimination||473 ||377 ||392.7 ||%|
|Total gross profit||$||838,196 ||$||(232,198)||(21.7)||%|
|Sources of cost of sales||2020||Change from 2019|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||6,995,552 ||$||92,315 ||1.3 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||3,055,965 ||843,923 ||38.2 ||%|
|Total cost of sales||$||11,253,705 ||$||914,880 ||8.8 ||%|
(a)Our Consolidated Financial Statements include the accounts of our company and our majority owned subsidiaries. We eliminate all significant affiliate accounts and transactions upon consolidation.
U.S. Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2020 increased $92.3 million, or 1.3%, from cost of sales incurred by our U.S. operations in 2019. Cost of sales increased primarily because of increased cost per pound sold and increased poultry sales volume of $49.3 million, or 0.7 percentage points, and $43.0 million, or 0.6 percentage points, respectively. Included in the increase in cost per pound sold and increased sales volume was a $43.4 million increase in live input costs, a $34.6 million increase in benefits costs mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an $18.0 million increase in depreciation costs, a $16.9 million increase in payroll costs due to higher pay rates, a $15.8 million increase in outside service costs from increased outside processing labor and a $15.6 million increase in insurance costs, mainly from higher workers’ compensation costs. Partially offsetting these increases in cost per pound sold and increased sales volume was a decrease in derivative expense of $59.9 million resulting from higher realized losses on commodity derivatives in 2019. Other factors affecting U.S. cost of sales were individually immaterial.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2020 increased $843.9 million, or 38.2%, from cost of sales incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2019 primarily because of costs incurred by the acquired PPL operations, partially offset by decreases in cost of sales incurred by our existing U.K. and Europe operations. Cost of sales incurred by the acquired PPL operations contributed $1.0 billion, or 45.9 percentage points, to the increase in cost of sales. Cost of sales related to the existing U.K. and Europe operations decreased $169.7 million, or 7.7 percentage points, due to a decrease in poultry sales volume and a decrease in cost per pound sold of $147.1 million and $29.9 million, respectively. These decreases in cost of sales were partially offset by the $7.3 million unfavorable impact of foreign currency translation. The decrease in cost per pound sold is due to the adjusted product mix from foodservice to retail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
Mexico Reportable Segment. Cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2020 decreased $21.0 million, or 1.7%, from cost of sales incurred by the Mexico operations during 2019 primarily because of the favorable impact of foreign currency remeasurement and decreased poultry sales volume of $141.0 million, or 11.5 percentage points, and $19.4 million, or 1.6 percentage points, respectively. Partially offsetting these decreases in cost of sales was an increase of $139.4 million, or 11.4 percentage points in cost per pound sold. Included in the decreased poultry sales volume and increased cost per pound sold was a $73.7 million increase in poultry input costs due to increased grain and ingredient costs. Other factors affecting cost of sales were individually immaterial.
Operating income. Operating income decreased $445.1 million, or 64.5%, from $690.6 million generated for 2019 to $245.5 million generated for 2020. The following tables provide operating income information:
| || ||Change from 2019||Percent of Net Sales|
|Components of operating income||2020||Amount||Percent||2020||2019|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|Gross profit||$||838,196 ||$||(232,198)||(21.7)||%||6.9 ||%||9.4 ||%|
|SG&A expenses||592,610 ||212,700 ||56.0 ||%||4.9 ||%||3.3 ||%|
|Administrative restructuring activities||123 ||207 ||(246.4)||%||— ||%||— ||%|
|Operating income||$||245,463 ||$||(445,105)||(64.5)||%||2.0 ||%||6.1 ||%|
| || ||Change from 2019|
|Sources of operating income||2020||Amount||Percent|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.K. and Europe||102,734 ||23,552 ||29.7 ||%|
|Elimination||473 ||377 ||392.7 ||%|
|Total operating income||$||245,463 ||$||(445,105)||(64.5)||%|
|Sources of SG&A expenses||2020||Change from 2019|
| ||(In thousands, except percent data)|
|U.S.||$||431,088 ||$||184,800 ||75.0 ||%|
|U.K. and Europe||115,470 ||22,901 ||24.7 ||%|
|Mexico||46,052 ||4,999 ||12.2 ||%|
|Total SG&A expense||$||592,610 ||$||212,700 ||56.0 ||%|
U.S. Reportable Segment. Selling, general and administrative (“SG&A”) expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2020 increased $184.8 million, or 75.0%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.S. operations during 2019 primarily from the $110.5 million DOJ agreement, the $75.0 million Direct Purchaser Plaintiff Class settlement, $15.0 million in incremental donations expense related to the Hometown Strong initiative and a $25.6 million increase in professional fees mainly due to increased legal representation services. These increases in SG&A expense were partially offset by a $20.0 million decrease in payroll and benefit costs due to decreased incentive and stock-based compensation. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
U.K. and Europe Reportable Segment. SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2020 increased $22.9 million, or 24.7%, from SG&A expense incurred by the U.K. and Europe operations during 2019 primarily because of expenses incurred by the acquired PPL operations of $25.7 million, partially offset by a decrease in SG&A expense incurred from our existing U.K. and Europe operations of $2.8 million. The decrease in SG&A expense in our existing U.K. and Europe was mainly due to a $2.1 million decrease in travel and entertainment expense due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a $2.0 million decrease in legal and other professional fees expense. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
Mexico Reportable Segment. SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2020 increased $5.0 million, or 12.2%, from SG&A expense incurred by the Mexico operations during 2019 primarily because of a $2.4 million increase in employee relations expenses and a $1.5 million increase in professional fees expense. Other factors affecting SG&A expense were individually immaterial.
Interest expense. Consolidated interest expense decreased 4.9% to $126.1 million in 2020 from $132.6 million in 2019, primarily because of a decrease in weighted average interest rates to 4.7% in 2020 from 5.3% in 2019. As a percent of net sales, interest expense in 2020 and 2019 was 1.0% and 1.2%, respectively.
Income taxes. Our consolidated income tax expense in 2020 was $66.8 million, compared to income tax expense of $161.0 million in 2019. The decrease in income tax expense in 2020 resulted from a decrease in pre-tax income during 2020.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Our principal sources of liquidity are cash generated from operations, funds from borrowings, and existing cash on hand. The following table presents our available sources of liquidity as of December 26, 2021:
Sources of Liquidity(a)
| ||(In millions)|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||— ||$||— ||$||450.1 |
U.S. Credit Facility(a)
|Revolving credit||800.0 ||36.1 ||763.9 |
|Term loan||700.0 ||506.3 ||193.7 |
Mexico Credit Facility(b)
|72.8 ||— ||72.8 |
U.K. and Europe Credit Facilities(c)
|134.1 ||— ||134.1 |
(a)Availability under the U.S. Credit Facility is also reduced by our outstanding standby letters of credit. Standby letters of credit outstanding at December 26, 2021 totaled $36.1 million.
(b)As of December 26, 2021, the U.S. dollar-equivalent of the amount available under the Mexican Credit Facility was $72.8 million ($1.5 billion Mexican pesos).
(c)As of December 26, 2021, the U.S. dollar-equivalent of the amount available under the U.K. and Europe Credit Facilities are $134.1 million (£100.0 million).
On February 8, 2022, we borrowed the remaining $193.7 million of the delayed draw commitment on the term loan under the U.S. Credit Facility.
In July 2021, one of our Mexican subsidiaries received an observation letter from the Mexican Tax Authority (the “MTA”) asserting a withholding tax liability due in connection with our 2015 acquisition of Provemex Holding LLC and its subsidiaries. Although we do not expect any claims or assessments set forth in the observation letter to result in future cash outlays, we are currently evaluating the claims and assessments as set forth in the observation letter. We responded to the observation letter in August 2021 and in November 2021, we received notice that the MTA ratified their assertions contained in the observation letter without acknowledging our arguments. The MTA now has six months to issue a formal assessment, at which time we plan to file an administrative appeal against any formal assessment received.
|Cash Flows from Operating Activities||December 26, 2021||December 27, 2020|
| ||(In millions)|