Astral Foods said final quarter of year had been challenging

Astral Foods said final quarter of year had been challenging

South African poultry producer Astral Foods is bullish about its shareholders' returns this year, predicting headline earnings will soar by "at least" 120% compared to the previous year.

Astral has forecast its headline earnings per share for the year to the end of September will increase 1037 cents compared to last year. It predicts earnings per share will soar by at least 115%, or 1017 cents per share year on year.

The forecasts mean Astral will post earnings per share and headline earnings per share of at least 1901 cents per share, compared to the 864 cents they received in 2014. 

In its trading update, issued on Thursday (1 October), Astral said the trading conditions it saw in the first half of the financial year that resulted in higher half-year profits continued into the third quarter. The company said the three quarters had "formed the basis for the improvement in the results" for the year as a whole.

However, Astral said the last quarter has been more challenging, with a slide in consumer demand, increased competition in the form of higher imports of bone-in chicken portions from the EU and an increase in maize prices as a result of poor weather. 

Astral’s full-year results will be released on November 16th 2015.