US poultry producer Sanderson Farms has returned to profit in the first half of its financial year as improved market conditions boosted sales and earnings.

Net income for the six months ended 30 April totalled US$15.9m, compared with a net loss of $49.8m last year.

Operating profit in the period amounted to $31.9m, compared to an operating loss of $74.4m in the prior-year period. Net sales reached $1.11bn from $907.1m last year.

The company said the results reflect “improved market conditions driven primarily by a decrease in the supply of poultry products”.

Looking ahead, chairman and CEO Joe Sanderson said the company will continue to “closely monitor” the chicken market and production levels as it heads into the summer months.

“With economic conditions continuing to affect consumer behaviour, we expect to see continued soft casual dining demand. However, market prices for boneless breast meat sold to our foodservice customers improved seasonally the first two weeks of May, and market prices for retail grocery store product have also moved higher,” he said.

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