Marc Hasenfuss Editor-at-large

There was a fair bit of clucking last week at the AGM of Astral foods, the JSE’s big bird, over ongoing high levels of chicken imports. Activist shareholder Chris Logan pointed out that cheaper imports — mostly from Brazil — had reached the highest level in seven years at more than 566,000t. These imports were worth about R6.5bn, which is half of Astral’s annual revenue. Logan believes cheaper poultry imports are the biggest threat to the viability of the local sector, and suggests companies like Astral have been "a bit complacent". This did not sit well with no-nonsense Astral CEO Chris Schutte, who stressed that the issue of imports was being addressed through the SA Poultry Association (Sapa) and that the matter was also being dealt with by the top legal minds in the country. Of course, some observers might recall that at an AGM last year Johann Rupert, the chair of Remgro, which controls major chicken producer Rainbow via RCL Foods, famously referred to Sapa as "incompetent and ...

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