Russian meat company Cherkizovo Group has seen first-half profit plunge in a “very challenging environment” marked by “record high” grain prices.

In a regulatory filing today (30 August) the company said that operating profit dropped 53% to US$69.3m in the first half. Net Profit decreased by 91% to $9m, compared to $95.5m in the first half of 2012.

Cherkizovo said its result was hit by rising input costs and “very low” first quarter pork prices. However, the meat group said the environment improved “significantly” in the second quarter, and while poultry prices remained low, pork prices rebounded somewhat.

First-half sales increased by 5% to $779.6m, as three new pork processing facilities came on line and the company increased its production levels.