Ukrainian meat group MHP said it has made a "strong" start to the year after its first-quarter profits more than doubled on increased chicken prices and exports.

For the three months to the end of March, net profit soared 143% to US$48m, the company reported today (17 May), as the average chicken price climbed by 31%. Lower finance costs and foreign exchange losses also helped MHP's bottom line. Operating profit increased 60% to $67m. EBITDA was up 48% at $84m.

Sales climbed 21% to reach $298m. Chicken exports increased by around 70% in the quarter and amounted to around 12% of total sales. The company also added Uzbekistan to its export markets this year.

"It was a strong start of 2012," said MHP CEO Yuriy Kosiuk. "We have once again achieved strong revenue and EBITDA growth, whilst at the same time generating sector-leading margins.

"Looking ahead, demand for our products is high and the overall market environment in Ukraine remains favourable for our business. We are therefore confident that we will be able to continue to implement our strategy and keep on delivering strong financial results."

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