Astral expects fall in operating profit following lockdown-related drop in chicken prices

Astral Foods has been impacted by downward pressure on chicken prices and the impact of load shedding
Astral Foods has been impacted by downward pressure on chicken prices and the impact of load shedding
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Chicken producer Astral Foods says it expects its operating profit to decline by up to 15%, as a result of downward pressure on chicken prices and the impact of load shedding.

Astral produces chicken products under its Festive, Goldi and County Fair brands.  

The group said in a trading update on Monday that the shuttering of quick service restaurants during SA's hard Level five lockdown left chicken producers with higher stock levels of individually quick frozen chicken portions."This resulted in downward pressure on selling prices to the consumer market which negatively affected the financial results for the 2020 financial year."

Astral's CEO, Chris Schutte, said in a statement that power cuts, plus additional costs to manage the risks associated with Covid-19, also affected the group's financial results. 

Astral, which is due to publish its annual results in November, said it expects its earnings per share to be down by up to 25% compared to 2019. 

“Astral is cautiously satisfied with its performance considering that the entire second half of the financial year was negatively impacted by the lockdown associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, which appears to have had a more severe impact on the financial results of other businesses within this sector," Schutte said.

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