(Adds context, agreement with banks announced earlier on Monday)
SAO PAULO, May 14 (Reuters) - Brazil’s JBS SA, the world’s largest meatpacking company, beat analysts’ estimates for the first quarter and closed a deal to refinance the bulk of its bank debt on Monday.
JBS’ net income for the first quarter, 506 million reais ($140 million), was 48 percent above analysts’ estimates, with higher revenue and costs reduction.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a gauge of operating profitability, stood at 2.8 billion reais, also higher than a 2.7 billion reais consensus estimate.
Revenue rose mainly in JBS’ units in the United States, especially in its chicken processor Pilgrims Pride Corp. In Brazil, revenue was slightly lower in the first quarter than a year earlier.
JBS also announced in a securities filing on Monday that the company reached an agreement with banks to refinance its debt, extending maturities of 12.2 billion reais in debt for three years.
JBS will pay principal between January next year and July 2021, the filing said.
As Brazilian benchmark interest rates fall to their lowest level ever, highly indebted companies are sharply reducing financial expenses.
JBS has reduced its leverage over the last 12 months, the company said. Net debt was equivalent to 3.4 times its annual EBITDA on the first quarter, below the 4.2 ratio a year earlier.
$1 = 3.6229 reais Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Sandra Maler and Lisa Shumaker