News24 reported that, after Astral reported its first annual loss, Astral CEO Chris Schutte said it would take time for the company to return to a decent profit margin.
“It all depends on the state of the consumer. Can they pay a bit more, two or three rand more per kilo for meat, which doesn’t seem a lot, but for households that are under severe stress, we are very sensitive to them.”
However, the company needed to ensure it had a sustainable business, he said, adding that SA could not afford to lose any of the bigger chicken producers.
“It will make chicken just more and more expensive, and if you have to rely on imports, that will make chicken more expensive than it is now. We are not looking for fat margins, we are looking for a sustainable business.”
Compounding the problems for chicken producers was that local poultry players were not being compensated for their losses due to bird flu, like companies in other parts of the world, he said.
At the same time, they also faced the threat of the government removing all anti-dumping duties, with Schutte saying Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel had made it clear he would remove all these protections if he saw prices going up.