February 26, 2018 / 6:36 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-South African poultry firm RCL Foods H1 profit jumps 55 pct

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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 26 (Reuters) - South African poultry producer RCL Foods said its first-half profit jumped 55 percent on the back of improved earnings in the chicken business unit.

Diluted headline earning per share (HEPS) rose 55 percent to 73.4 cents for the six months to the end of December compared with 47.4 cents in the previous reporting period. This was in line with what the company had flagged to the market.

HEPS is the main profit gauge in South Africa which strips out certain one-off items.

RCL said a decline in feed input costs and higher chicken prices following lower levels of unprotected imports and the impact of avian influenza on supply boosted trading conditions in the poultry market.

“Headline earnings for the period ended December 2017 increased 56.9 percent to 644.7 million rand largely due to an improved result in the chicken business unit,” the firm said in a statement

However, RCL said a recovery in production volumes in its sugar business as drought conditions abated was offset by lower industry prices due to the impact of higher import volumes during the period.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) for the unit fell 27 percent to 210.7 million rand compared to the previous reporting period.

RCL declared an interim dividend of 15 cents per share, up 50 percent from the year-ago period. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg; Editing by Sunil Nair)

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