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Astral Foods on Monday reported a 52.3% drop in net profit to R372.16m in the year to end-September from the year-earlier period. The poultry producer is still reeling from the after-effects of the drought that earlier this year severely cut food production, forcing the country to import some food stocks, including maize and poultry. Group revenue was up 6.1% to R12bn, but operating profit slid 50.1% to R549m from R1.1bn, predominantly as a result of the significant downturn in the poultry division. Profit in the poultry segment was down 91.1% to R59m, with net operating profit margin dropping to 0.7% from 7.6%. The disappointing performance came as feed prices increased 17.4% per tonne of poultry feed year on year due to the drought while average selling prices were down 0.6% Revenue for the feed division was up 15.3% from R6.2bn to R7.2bn as a direct result of the higher average selling price for feed. "Last year we posted record results, however, we have seen deterioration in pro...

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