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Send  Print  Share  RSS  Twitter  15 Nov 2010

JSE Results: Astral Foods

Johannesburg, Nov 15 (I-Net Bridge) - Astral Foods (ARL) on Monday announced full year diluted headline earnings per share of 959 cents for the year ended September 2010 from 890 cents previously.

Diluted earnings per share rose to 939 cents from 905 cents.
The group declared a final dividend of 470 cents per share, up 7% on 2009, resulting in a total dividend for the year of 760 cents from 700 cents previously.

Revenue declined to 8.367 billion rand from 8.833 billion rand due to lower agricultural input costs and lower poultry realisations, while its operating profit was a fraction higher at 585.4 million rand from 580.9 million in 2009.

Astral is an integrated poultry producer with key activities consisting of animal feed pre-mixes, manufacturing of animal feeds, broiler genetics, production and sale of day-old chicks and hatching eggs, integrated breeder and broiler production operations, abattoirs and sales and distribution of various key poultry brands.

The group said its poultry division's operating profit was down 7% to 262 million. "The division was not being able to capitalise on lower feed input costs due to poultry realisations continue to be depressed."

Turnover for the division at 5.35 billion rand was down 2% on the back of significantly lower selling prices, due to an oversupply of products to a depressed consumer market.

"However, the increase in sales volumes to a large extent compensated for the lower selling prices. The volume growth achieved was mainly due to efficiency improvements and on-farm production results," Astral Foods said.

It said that its feed division however, improved its profitability 8% to 281 million rand. Revenue for the period decreased 11% to 4.225 billion rand, "mainly as a result of lower feed prices driven by lower grain prices. The lower grain prices came about due to improved global and local plantings and yields as well as a reduction in global demand," the group said.

The services and ventures segment which consist mainly of NuTec and the East Balt bakery, improved its profitability by 9% to 42 million rand.

Looking ahead, Astral Foods said: "We do not expect that the business environment for next year will be any different from the year under review."

It said that the global outlook for grains is a key cost driver for both feed and poultry production and shows signs of tighter supply and demand prospects, which could lead to prices firming.

"The extent at which higher feed prices translate to prospective earnings will be dependent on both the level of poultry imports supported by a strong local currency, and the domestic supply and demand balance.

"Local demand will be influenced and impacted upon by consumer buying patterns, unemployment levels and further job shedding.

"In the current uncertain economic environment it will be a priority to continue to focus on our current efficiencies drive," Astral Foods concluded.

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