Astral Foods, the South Africa-based poultry processor, has released an update on the profit warning it issued last month, blaming rising input costs for the likely hit on its earnings.

However, the outlook is marginally improved from last month’s warning.

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In a trading statement issued yesterday (28 April) on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, on which its listed, Astral said it expects half-year profits to fall by more than a third.

It blamed the rising price of soybeans and maize as well as a fall in disposable income amongst consumers.

The update comes just over a month after Astral Foods issued a first-half profit warning, saying it was continuing to struggle with the impact from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Then, Astral said it expected that earnings per share and headline earnings per share were both likely to be down by a maximum of 45% in the six months to 31 March from the corresponding period a year earlier.

In its newly-issued update, the company said a “degree of certainty” now exists and earnings per share and headline earnings per share are expected to decrease between 35% and 40% compared to the previous comparable period.

Astral’s half-year results are due to be published on 17 May.

In the six months to 31 March 2020, the group recorded profits before interest and tax of ZAR545.8m (US$38.3m).