Astral uncracked by Covid-19


Astral uncracked by Covid-19

Published Date: 2020-11-17 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Astral uncracked by Covid-19

The poultry and feeds group is paying a final dividend after surviving the worst of the lockdown.

Astral Foods says it managed to navigate the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown on its operations - assisted with the cash it saved by holding back on paying an interim dividend. Together with the careful management of its funding resources, it remained in a cash positive position throughout the period, ending the year with net surplus cash of R546 million.

Releasing results for the year to end-September, the poultry and feeds group said it was in a position to pay a final dividend in line with its earnings for the year. That's after completing the R710 million expansion project at its Festive poultry processing plant in Olifantsfontein, which increased its capacity by 16% to 800,000 birds per week. The expansion forms part of the Poultry Sector Master Plan, aimed at supporting volume growth in the industry and ensuring that local production makes up a higher component of chicken consumption into the future.

Still, the company faces competition from cheap imports, which have continued unabated despite the higher import tariffs on frozen bone-in portions that were announced in March.

Revenue for the year ended September rose 5% to R14.1 billion, supported by an increase in revenue from its breeder division, including Ross Poultry Breeders and National Chicks. Operating profit fell 5% to R838 million due to a weaker performance in the second half of the year when the lockdown took place. Net profit declined by 13% to R561 million, resulting in a 14% decrease in headline earnings per share to R14.41. It declared a final dividend of R7.75, leaving its total dividend for the year 14% down from last year.

Astral's shares closed 1% up at R131 yesterday.

Similar Stories