Ukraine’s Main Poultry Maker MHP Sees Stronger Consumer Demand

Ukraine’s biggest poultry producer, Mironovskiy Hleboproduct SA, said signs of an economic recovery after two years of a separatist conflict in the country’s eastern regions may increase consumer demand and boost its sales.

The Kiev-based company, also known as MHP, reported a 1 percent revenue increase to $244 million in the first quarter, while its net loss declined to $71 million from $292 million a year earlier, according to a statement on Thursday. Poultry sales rose 4 percent to 117,716 tons and the average price increased 17 percent mainly due to better conditions on domestic market.

The Ukrainian economy emerged from eight quarters of year-on-year decline, exacerbated by a conflict with pro-Russian rebels, as slowing inflation helped boost consumer confidence and household spending. The hryvnia, which lost more than a third of its value in 2015, has stabilized this year and annual price growth eased to 9.8 percent in April compared with 60.9 percent a year earlier.

“We hope this is going to be the beginning of a new era,” MHP Chief Financial Officer Viktoria Kapelyushnaya said in a phone interview after the first-quarter earnings were published. “At least a minor increase in prices is what producers need.”

MHP sees stable domestic demand for chicken meat, while it targets an increase in exports to as much as 175,000 tons from 135,000 tons in 2015, according to Kapelyushnaya. She reiterated a forecast of a 7 percent increase in chicken meat output this year and sees a positive outlook for its harvest of corn, wheat, sunflower and rapeseed.

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