Russian meat firm Cherkizovo said it will be looking at extending its poultry division further this year.

Speaking to just-food today (9 April), the company said it was looking at a number of "different projects" following the near completion of the construction of its Greenfield pork farm project, but that it was primarily interested in poultry.

The company, which posted a 27% increase in 2008 net income this morning, said that despite receiving a government subsidy last year, further government support was "necessary".

"We cannot quantify [an amount]", a spokesperson for Cherkizovo said, but noted that the company would rely on "continuing to receive interest rate tax reimbursements" due to "liquidity problems".

While 2008 net income reached US$78.1m compared to $61.6m in 2007, EBITDA margin was 13%, compared to 14% in 2007 and gross margin dropped to 24% from 27% in the previous year.

"It has a lot to do with the inexplicably high grain prices and the pressure of rising input costs," the spokesperson said. "That's why both the margins were down.

"We cannot say what the grain prices will be but we expect the outlook for the Russian domestic harvest to be pretty good but we cannot expect the amount of increase that we saw last year. We believe it should be moderate."