(Alliance News) - ECO Animal Health Group PLC on Thursday blamed the dramatic fall in pig prices in China for declining sales and profits in its first half of trading.
The livestock pharmaceutical products firm's revenue in the six months ended September 30 was GBP38.5 million, down 9.4% from GBP42.5 million a year before.
Pretax profit narrowed sharply to GBP900,000 from GBP4.8 million. Meanwhile the group fell to a 0.21 pence loss per share compared to earnings of 3.63p a year before.
Shares in plummeted 21% to 158.50p each in London on Thursday morning.
Surrey-based ECO Animal declared an interim dividend of 1p per share.
Non-executive Chair Andrew Jones commented: "This set of results has clearly been impacted by the dramatic fall in the pig price in China which had a significant impact on the industry and losses of up to USD200 per head."
Despite the disappointing trading results, the company pointed to growth in Southeast Asian markets, with revenue up 50%. Excluding China and Japan, revenue increased by 5% overall.
Looking to the second half, Jones struck an upbeat tone: "The directors regard the situation in China as cyclical and one which is expected to reverse and as a result, we are confident and excited about the medium and longer term prospects for the business".
On Wednesday, agricultural biotechnology firm Genus PLC reported similar difficulties in the Chinese pig market, downgrading its annual profit guidance due to lower volumes from its pigs business in the country. However, the group noted a partial recovery in prices since early October.
By Will Paige; firstname.lastname@example.org
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