Brazilian meat group Brasil Foods has booked a drop in first-quarter profits on the back of weak demand in Asia and the Middle East.

For the three months to the end of March, net profits slumped 60% to BRL153m (US$81m). The company said some key markets such as Japan and the Middle East continued to suffer from “a process of adjustment and running down of levels of inventory and merchandise flows”.

EBITDA in the period amounted to BRL532m, a 35% decline on the prior-year period.

Net sales in the quarter, however, reached BRL6.3bn, a year-on-year increase of 5.3%. The firm said it reported a “good” performance in sales to the domestic/retail market amounting to BRL3bn, a growth of 11%, despite “below-forecast consumption” in the Brazilian retail sector overall.

The company said its results reflected “the challenging scenario in the export market, as had already been observed in the fourth quarter of 2011”.

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