Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ:PPC) announced that as part of its strategy of improving its capital structure and generating shareholder value, its Board of Directors has approved the declaration of a special cash dividend of $5.77 per share. The total amount of the special dividend payment will be approximately $1.5 billion based on the current number of shares outstanding. The special cash dividend is payable on February 17, 2015, to stockholders of record on January 30, 2015.

“Three years ago our company initiated a strategy to create shareholder value and improve capital structure by partnering with key customers, relentlessly pursuing operational excellence and growing our value added exports. The Board’s decision to approve the special dividend payments is a testament to this strategy, our financial discipline and our confidence in the future. We will continue on our path to generate shareholder value with an improved capital structure while maintaining the flexibility to pursue our growth strategy,” stated Bill Lovette, Pilgrim’s Chief Executive Officer.

Pilgrim’s Pride Equity Analysis

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation (NASDAQ:PPC) opened trading today as $34.51 and is trading in the range of 32.84-35.14 today. Pilgrim’s Pride’s current market cap stands at $8.90 billion.

Compared to other peers in the Food – Major Diversified sector, Pilgrim’s Pride hasn’t performed in terms of quarterly revenue growth year over year at 0.06 vs. the industry average of 0.25. Pilgrim’s Pride’s earnings per share is currently at 2.65, which surpasses the sector average of 0.54.

Pilgrim’s Pride is currently covered by 5 Wall Street analysts. The mean target price is $36.00 according to First Call. This presents a solid upside to the current price of the equity. The Mean Recommendation sits at 2.6 which is based on 1 Strong Buy & 4 Hold ratings.

The most recent analyst actions consisted of BB&T Capital Mkts downgrading the stock on December 5th and BB&T Capital Mkts initiating coverage with a downgrading rating back in June.

The current quarter EPS consensus estimate is .76 with revenue estimates of 2.20B. Sales are expected to grow at a 7.70% rate. Pilgrim’s Pride reported actual earnings last quarter of 0.99 which beats the .79 consensus estimate, a 25.30% surprise.

Corporate Profile

Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation is engaged in the production, processing, marketing, and distribution of fresh, frozen, and value-added chicken products to retailers, distributors, and foodservice operators in the United States, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. It offers fresh chicken products comprising refrigerated (nonfrozen) whole or cut-up chicken; and pre-marinated or non-marinated, and prepackaged chicken in various combinations of refrigerated whole chickens and chicken parts. The company also provides prepared chicken products, such as portion-controlled breast fillets, tenderloins and strips, delicatessen products, salads, formed nuggets and patties, and bone-in chicken parts. In addition, it exports whole chickens and chicken parts to approximately 100 countries. Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation sells its products to foodservice market, including chain restaurants, food processors, broad-line distributors, and other institutions; and retail market customers that primarily include grocery store chains, wholesale clubs, and other retail distributors. The company was founded in 1946 and is headquartered in Greeley, Colorado. As of December 28, 2009, Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation operates as a subsidiary of JBS USA Holdings, Inc.

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