Brazil's JBS SA has posted second-quarter net profits nearly twice as high as the average of analysts' estimates, buoyed by a strong performance in its beef and pork divisions in the United States and at home.
Results from the world's largest meat-packer showed a net profit of 3.38 billion reais (€530 million). Analysts in a Refinitiv poll had estimated net profit of 1.8 billion reais for the quarter, which was marked by disruptions at some of JBS' U.S. and Brazilian production facilities due to coronavirus outbreaks.
The impact of COVID-19 on the animal protein industry was notable, especially in North America. In April, JBS said it temporarily closed three U.S. beef production units.
Demand for beef was strong, though, positively impacting the price of meat, JBS said.
In Brazil, JBS became a target of lawsuits by labor prosecutors for allegedly not doing enough to protect workers amid the pandemic.
Despite outbreaks that led to the temporary closure of JBS plants in at least three Brazilian states, the company's Seara division, which sells pork, poultry and processed foods, increased net sales almost 26% to 6.4 billion reais.
Australian operations suffered less of an impact from COVID-19 in the quarter, JBS said.
The volume of cattle slaughtered grew in relation to the previous quarter, but cattle availability continued to be a challenge, the company said.
JBS, which sells meat in 190 countries, increased its consolidated net revenue by 33% to 67.58 billion reais, as all business units increased sales in Brazilian reais.
In its earnings statement, JBS also highlighted strong Brazilian beef exports to China, as net revenue from beef sales to the Asian country rose 53%, in dollar terms, over the quarter.