* International revenue plummet 14 pct in 2009 vs 2008
* Domestic sales growth partially offsets export drop
* Export volumes seen recovering 3.5 pct to 5 pct in 2010
(Recasts, updates with comments from CFO, analyst; adds byline)
By Roberto Samora and Reese Ewing
SAO PAULO, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Brazil’s largest poultry exporter, Brazil Foods (BRFS3.SA) said on Friday export sales revenues plummeted in 2009 and it expects recovery to be slow.
The company’s gross revenues fell 14 percent in the fourth quarter of 2009 to 6.3 billion reais from a year ago, due to the lingering effects of the global financial crisis, said Leopoldo Saboya, the company’s financial director.
Sales revenues from exports alone fell 31 percent in the quarter to just over 2 billion reais and were down 14 percent for the year to 9.1 billion reais. The external market accounted for about 42 percent of company sales in the fourth quarter.
Analysts at J.P. Morgan had anticipated exports would be a drag on the company’s results, forecasting a 24 percent decline in foreign sales in the quarter.
Brasil Foods posted fourth-quarter net income of 6 million reais ($3.3 million) on Friday, compared with a proforma net loss of 1.33 billion reais a year earlier, which reflected financial losses due to the company’s speculative bets in the currency markets.
The company posted results after markets had closed,
The results of Brazil’s largest pork processor were in-line with what Pascal Lamy, the World Trade Organization’s general director, reported on Thursday -- that global trade contracted by about 12 percent in 2009, more than the WTO had previously anticipated. [ID:nLDE61N12T]
“We don’t expect changes in the external markets to repeat, both in terms of volumes and prices,” both of which fell sharply, Saboya said.
Saboya said sales volumes abroad are expected to recover only slowly in 2010, by about 3.5 percent to 5 percent.
Domestic sales growth of 4 percent in 2009 to 15.2 billion reais helped partially off-set the weaker export markets. Total annual sales were still down 4 percent at 24.4 billion reais for 2009. Saboya added that demand at home is expected to grow by 8 percent in 2010.
Brasil Foods shares closed 1.6 percent lower at 44.10 reais on Friday before the earnings report was released, while the broader Bovespa index closed up 0.58 percent up.
The company, which controls about a quarter of the world’s poultry market, was formed in 2009 by the merger of Brazil’s top two poultry and pork processors, Perdigao and Sadia.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) -- a sign of the company’s cash flow -- fell 64 percent to 370 million reais in the last three months of 2009 against a proforma EBITDA of 1.02 billion reais in the last quarter of 2008.
For all of 2009, the company reported a net profit of 228 million reais, against a net proforma loss of 2.4 billion reais in 2008.
$1=1.807 reais Writing by Reese Ewing; Editing by David Gregorio