ATLANTA -- Gold Kist Inc. today issued the following statement in response to Pilgrim's Pride Corporation's proposal to acquire all outstanding common shares of Gold Kist for $20 a share:



"The Gold Kist Board strongly believes in the company's ability to successfully execute our long-term strategic plan to provide significant value to our stockholders. With our strong financial position and efficient operations, we believe that we performed competitively with our peers in the recent downturn.



"We are confident in our previously-stated strategy to expand our private label and value-added businesses, to improve our operating efficiencies and to be an industry consolidator. This strategy, along with our experienced management, our strong customer and supplier relationships and our dedicated employees position us very well to capitalize on rapidly improving market conditions.



"Since February 2006, while the poultry markets and our stock price have been depressed, Pilgrim's has made two opportunistic proposals to acquire the Company. After careful consideration by our Board of Directors and with the advice of our outside legal counsel and our financial advisor, these proposals were rejected.



"In June, Pilgrim's made an additional proposal to the Board of Directors. Although this proposal was unacceptable as presented to the Board and we have great confidence in our strategy as an independent company, our Board always considers opportunities to maximize stockholder value. To this end, in July we met with Pilgrim's to explore their unsolicited proposal and have expressed our willingness to consider limited reciprocal due diligence subject to an appropriate confidentiality agreement. We were therefore surprised and disappointed that Pilgrim's chose to make public its unsolicited proposal at this time.



"The Board plans to carefully examine this proposal and has designated a committee to consider our strategic plans and potential alternatives to maximize stockholder value. Our Board and management will continue to faithfully discharge our duties to our stockholders and other stakeholders.
Merrill Lynch & Co. is the Company's financial advisor, and Alston & Bird LLP and Richards, Layton & Finger are outside legal counsel to Gold Kist.



"We will file a proxy statement in connection with our 2007 annual meeting of stockholders. Our stockholders are strongly advised to read the proxy statement when it becomes available, as it will contain important information.



"Stockholders will be able to obtain the proxy statement, any amendments or supplements to the proxy statement and other documents filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission for free at the Internet www.sec.gov">Web site maintained by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Copies of the proxy statement and any amendments and supplements to the proxy statement will also be available at www.goldkist.com or by writing to Gold Kist Inc., Attn: Investor Relations, 244 Perimeter Center Parkway, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30346."



Gold Kist is the third largest chicken company in the United States, accounting for more than nine percent of chicken produced in the United States in 2005. Gold Kist operates a fully-integrated chicken production business that includes live production, processing, marketing and distribution. Gold Kist's operations include nine divisions located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

SOURCE: Gold Kist Inc. via Business Wire.