February 24, 2017 / 1:30 AM / a year ago

Brazil's BRF swings to the red with $150 mln 4th-quarter loss

SAO PAULO, Feb 23 (Reuters) - BRF SA, the world’s largest poultry exporter, posted a fourth-quarter net loss of 460 million reais ($150 million), a reversal from a 1.4 billion reais profit turned a year earlier.

The losses reflected continued high costs of raw materials such as grains and the need to lower prices due to stepped up competition in key regional markets, BRF said in its quarterly filing on Thursday.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operational profit, dropped 70 percent to 559 million reais from 1.8 billion reais in the same quarter of 2015.

Political uncertainties and internal organizational challenges also weighed on the results in 2016, when net sales fell 4.1 percent, BRF said.

But sales from units abroad increased 16.7 percent year-on-year, pointing to a solid expansion in the long term, mainly in Asia thanks to demand from China’s market.

An acquisition in Thailand at the start of last year produced better-than-expected results that reflected better integration of the company’s global operations, BRF said.

$1 = 3.0612 reais Reporting by Aluisio Alves; Writing by Anthony Boadle; Editing by Leslie Adler

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