Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Astral Foods has raised its final dividend by a hefty 775% to R8.75, after the poultry producer nearly doubled its full-year headline profit.

Lower input costs benefited the company tremendously in the year to end-September, as the effect of the drought in the summer rainfall areas abated. Maize and soya are primary ingredients in the rearing of the birds.

SA harvested a record 16.7-million tonnes of maize in the 2017-18 marketing year, which was a notable improvement on the 7.8-million tonnes in 2016-17.

Thus, headline earnings per share (HEPS) rose 96.8% to R18.99, helped by the low-base effect of last year, when the company was reeling from the drought.

Group revenue was up a modest 3.3% to R12.3bn, restricted by low external feed volumes and lower selling prices as a result of a reduction in raw material prices.

Astral also announced that it wrote off R54m in broiler breeding birds that were culled to limit the spread of avian flu in the country.

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