Duc said it had held "intense negotiations" with its customers on price during the autumn

Duc said it had held "intense negotiations" with its customers on price during the autumn

French poultry group Duc has reported a "significant" impact on margins in the first quarter of the year after only being able to "partially" offset higher commodity costs through price increases.

Duc said it had held "intense negotiations" with its customers on price during the autumn in a bid to offset "soaring" raw material costs. However, the company only enjoyed limited success.

"We have asked farmers to make a special effort to support us through this delicate period," Duc said yesterday as it booked higher first-quarter sales.

Duc, which saw quarterly sales increase more than 11%, said it expected satisfactory" sales growth in 2013 but warned the "delicate trading environment in the poultry sector in recent months" left it "very cautious".

"The main objective in the coming months will be to restore margins," Duc said. The company made an annual loss of EUR2.2m in 2012 due in part to pressure on its commodity bill.

Its sales in the three months to the end of March were up 11.2% at EUR50.4m. Volumes increased more than 7%. Duc pointed to its move to diversify into "value-added" products. It also saw sales of halal meat rise.