China's top feed producer New Hope Liuhe first half profits surge 87% on year

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's major feed and meat producer New Hope Liuhe 000876.SZ said on Friday its first-half net profit surged 87.14% as feed and poultry sales rose.

The privately-owned agriculture giant reported net profit of 1.56 billion yuan ($219.94 million), up from 846 million yuan a year ago. Revenue was 35.29 billion yuan, up 11.54% from the previous year, according to a company filing to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The strong performance followed a similar rise in profits at another major poultry producer Wens Foodstuff300498.SZ. Both companies sold around 400 million chickens and ducks in the period.

In a statement ahead of the earnings report, New Hope Liuhe said a jump in poultry and pig prices in the first half pushed up the firm’s profits.

New Hope Liuhe sold 8.76 million tonnes of feed in the first half, up 13.74% from the previous year, as a sharp rise in sales of poultry and aquaculture feed made up for a drop in pig feed sales, the company filing said.

The firm sold 1.34 million pigs during the period, up 8.33% from a year ago. Pork products sales fell 18.89%, to 120,700 tonnes, as it was difficult to get pigs from farmers due to the African swine fever disease, the company said.

New Hope Liuhe raises pigs on its own farms and also through contracted farmers. The top feed producer in China is expanding fast in pig production both domestically and overseas, as the deadly disease ravages the region.

African swine fever, detected in China in August, has now spread to Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, significantly reducing pork output in the region.

New Hope Liuhe sold 2.55 million pigs and 17.04 million tonnes of feed in 2018. It aims to be among the top three pig producers in China and slaughter 25 million pigs annually by 2022, according to its annual report for 2018.

Reporting by Hallie Gu and Dominique Patton; Editing by Kirsten Donovan