Astral Foods has recorded its worst trading performance in its history as a JSE listed entity.
This was due to high feed prices, competition from Brazilian imports and violent strikes that saw around 65 000 chickens being lost. Astral’s operating profit for the first quarter ended 31 December 2012 was 60% lower than the corresponding period in the previous year. The company expected that earnings per share and headline earnings per share for the six months ending 31 March 2013 will be down between 45% and 65% and 75% and 95% respectively, compared with the six months ended 31 March 2012.
Chris Schutte, Astral’s CEO, said the likelihood of payment of an interim dividend was uncertain. “Our board of directors will make a final decision after approving the financial results by end of March 2013.” He said that the factors that negatively influenced Astral’s poultry division over the first quarter of the 2013 financial year were set to continue over the second quarter of 2013.
“Indications are that the second quarter performance will be much worse than the first quarter and as a result, Astral’s results for the six months ending 31 March 2013 will be severely impacted.”
“However more favourable feed costs are expected for the second half of the 2013 financial year and should be a major factor in reversing the poultry division’s outlook.”
Astral’s Feed and other African divisions continued to report good performances.
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