Russian meat firm Cherkizovo posted an increase in poultry sales for the first quarter, while pork sales remained flat and meat sales declined.

In the company’s poultry division, total sales volumes gained 6% to 41,500 tonnes compared to around 44,100 in the first quarter of 2008.

Prices for Cherkizovo poultry sales increased by 15% in rouble terms but dropped 18% in dollar terms due to a 40% devaluation of the rouble.

In the pork division, sales volumes remained flat at around 10,000 tonnes. As capacity at the new pork farms in Lipetsk and Tambov comes on line, Cherkizovo said it expects production to reach targeted levels.

In the first quarter, prices for pork in Russia were strong and increased in rouble terms by 30%. In dollar terms, prices decreased by 7%.

The company’s meat processing division continued to decrease volumes of lower-priced, lower-margin products, and this, together with lower consumption in the regions of Russia due to tough economic conditions, affected the performance of the division.

Sales volumes were lower, down 16% to around 28,400 tonnes in the first quarter of 2009. Average prices increased by 21% in rouble terms and decreased 14% in dollar terms.

Sergei Mikhailov, CEO said: “Our sales in the first quarter were primarily influenced by seasonal factors as well as the lenting period ahead of Easter in Russia. However, despite the challenging economic conditions, we remain cautiously optimistic about consumption patterns and pricing trends for our products.”