Lower chicken feed prices helped Astral Foods nearly double its net profit while selling the same amount of meat. The volume of chicken Astral sold during its 2018 financial year grew just 0.2% to 811 tons, the company said on Monday in its results statement for the year to end-September. Revenue rose 4.5% to R13bn while net profit jumped 88.5% to R1.4bn. “Feed costs reduced notably in the second half of the 2017 financial year, and this continued throughout the period under review, contributing significantly to Astral’s earnings for the full year,” Astral CEO Chris Schutte said in the results statement. Feed prices account for about 67% of the wholesale cost of a broiler, Schutte said. Its 2018 financial year profitability was also boosted by no outbreaks of bird flu during the reporting period. Astral along with other South African poultry producers have lobbied the government for protection from foreign competitors. According to Astral, about 45% of chicken sold in SA is imported...

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