Northern Ireland

Rising grain prices slash Moy Park profits

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Image caption Chicken feed is the company's biggest cost

One of Northern Ireland's biggest companies - the chicken processor Moy Park - has made a pre-tax profit of £4.8m for 2011.

That is despite taking in more than £1bn in turnover for the first time ever.

Profit dropped from 2012 to 2011 by £25m, which management put down to a huge rise in grain prices last year.

The company employs more than 10,500 people across 13 processing facilities.

They have plants in Northern Ireland, England, France and Holland.

Grain and soya are the company's biggest costs in terms of feed for the chickens.

Chief executive Nigel Dunlop said inflation had been astronomical.

"We've had to spend £70m extra on rising raw material costs, which has slashed this year's profit," he said.

However, Mr Dunlop said it was impressive that the business was still making a profit in the current climate.

"It shows the business is pretty resilient under challenging circumstances," he said.

2010 had been a record year in terms of profit, after Moy Park bought over O'Kane chicken processing plants.

Moy Park's parent company, the Brazilian-based Marfrig group, moved back into profit in 2012 after some difficult years of trading.

A podcast of this interview is available here.

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