A trading update from SA’s largest poultry producer, Astral Foods, this week, and as we’ve come to expect from that embattled sector, it wasn’t what it might have been, with HEPS, that reliable measure of profitability, down by a hardly encouraging “not more than 60%” according to the Group. This in the face of higher maize prices due to a smaller crop this year, as well as depressed selling prices, which conspired nefariously to put the squeeze on the old margin. “Disappointing consumer spending patterns during Astral Foods’ 2019 financial year, together with high levels of poultry imports, resulted in average poultry selling prices below that of the comparative period,” says the business. On the upside, they expect consumer spending to recover somewhat in 2020, and look forward to a better maize harvest.
Comment: Still, it’s a rum game, the poultry racket.