May 19, 2014 10:45 am JST

Thai CP Foods doubles profit for first quarter

YUKAKO ONO, Nikkei staff writer

BANGKOK -- Charoen Pokphand Foods (CPF), Thailand's largest agribusiness conglomerate, saw net profit double to 2.05 billion baht ($63 million) in the first quarter through March compared to a year earlier, thanks to a recovery in its livestock business and robust sales in international operations.

     Overall sales rose 12% year-on-year to 98.12 billion baht. International operations, which account for 58%, grew 16%, especially led by strong performance in Vietnam and India. Profit margin was also up 4 percentage points to 13%.

     The company said in a statement that livestock business "has continued to recover as (a) result of this year's output (returning) to normal." In December 2013, Japan resumed import of fresh chicken meat from Thailand, lifting a decadelong ban imposed after the outbreak of bird flu. Europe removed a similar ban in 2012. Thai media are reporting that South Korea may soon follow suit.

     "Overall, this year CPF should be able to achieve its operating target set," the company statement said. The shrimp business had been sluggish due to Early Mortality Syndrome, but the company anticipates that the "situation should be seen more clearly in the second half of this year."

     Pisit Ohmpornnuwat, chief operating officer in charge of its overseas business, said in an interview published earlier this month in the Bangkok Post that the World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil in June will boost chicken exports.

    Brazil is the world's largest chicken exporter but "the tournament is likely to boost local consumption, which could cause supply shortfalls from Brazilian sellers," Ohmpornnuwat said. "This could be a chance for Thai exporters to make up the supply in some markets."