Astral anticipates markedly improved half-year results

Various factors are expected to result in Astral Foods (Astral) posting what the JSE-listed company described as a “marked improvement” in its financial results for the six months ending 31 March 2018.

The integrated poultry producer, with operations across a number of Southern African countries, said as much in a JSE Stock Exchange News Service (SENS) announcement issued yesterday.

Astral said a major reason for this expectation of improved financials compared to the six months ended 31 March 2017 was that abnormally high poultry feed costs had undermined company profitability during the latter period.

Also bolstering Astral’s anticipated favourable financial performance for the company’s latest half-year were “favourable trading conditions during the second half of the 2017 financial year [that] continued into the first half of the 2018 financial year”.

The SENS statement added that, unlike Astral’s previous experiences with this particular time of year, poultry prices had remained favourably firm after the December 2017 holiday season.

Astral reported that during its half-year due to end on 31 March 2018, the company had also experienced further improvements in its on-farm poultry production efficiencies.

“It can be confirmed that no further incidents of bird flu [avian influenza] and related costs have been experienced during the [2017/18] summer months, such as that which impacted the business in the second half of the 2017 financial year,” the SENS statement said.

Astral said that, due to the positive factors experienced by the company in its latest half-year, its shareholders could expect earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the six months ending 31 March 2018 to be “at least 410% up on the results for the comparative period”.

The company explained that it expected to have its confirmed results for the latest six months ending 31 March 2018 published on SENS on 14 May 2018.