JBS, the world's largest meatpacker, returned to profitability in the first quarter thanks to the strong performance of its US meat operation, it said in an earnings statement.
The Brazil-based company posted a net profit of R$2 billion ($377 million) in the quarter ended 31 March, versus a 5.93 billion real loss in the same period of last year.
In the United States, JBS said its robust operating performance was 'exceptionally good', benefiting from strong demand for meat as restaurants started to reopen in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Exports to Asian countries from the United States were also a boon, the company said.
High feed prices weighed on the margins of JBS' Seara food division in Brazil, sliding to 11.9% from 16.9% a year earlier after a steep increase in soy meal corn prices that are key ingredients for livestock feed.
The company also reported a 3.5 billion-real cash burn in the first quarter, after settling corruption and antitrust fines with US authorities. Those charges amounted to R$1.1 billion in the first quarter of 2021, JBS said.
In April, the food giant JBS announced a deal to acquire plant-based group Vivera in a deal worth €341 million, significantly increasing its footprint in this growing category.
Currently, Vivera is the largest independent plant-based company in Europe and will join with the group's other initiatives such as Seara’s Incrível line, a market leader in plant-based hamburgers in Brazil, and Planterra, which operates the OZO brand in the United States.