Moy Park sees 23% rise in profits and growth in revenue
Underlying profits have grown by over 23% to £12.4m over the last quarter at Northern Ireland poultry giant Moy Park.
For the 13 weeks to June 27, 2015, the company reported revenue of £360m compared to £356m for the same period the year before.
However, pre-tax profit fell from £8.3m to £5.8m.
But before taking into account interest on a bond, underlying profit before tax was £12.4m, up from £10.1m.
Moy Park was recently acquired for $1.5bn (£945m) by Brazilian food group JBS SA after it was off-loaded by fellow Brazilian food giant, Marfrig.
Moy Park, which is Northern Ireland's biggest employer, said revenue increase was driven by "good volume growth" in the UK and Ireland, as well as the rest of Europe.
Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park said: "The second quarter of 2015 has seen Moy Park continue its solid start to the year in what is a challenging market.
"Our commitment to delivering the highest quality product offering to our customers and consumers, while maintaining our focus on controlling costs, has enabled us to report solid second quarter results.
"We are pleased with the ongoing progress being made in the business and remain confident in the long term success and development of the company.
"We continue to invest in our high quality asset base to ensure we have the capacity in place to facilitate further efficient growth."
While Marfrig's sales agreement had been confirmed on June 21, she said it was "business as usual" at the food company, which employs around 6,300 people in Northern Ireland and a further 6,350 in Great Britain, the Republic, Holland and France.
She added: "While the ownership of the company will change on completion of the sale, our day to day focus remains very much business as usual and we will continue to deliver on our plans for growth."
The company added that revenue growth was offset by commodity input cost deflation, the strengthening of sterling against the euro - which was reducing the value of European revenues - and falling prices internationally for poultry dark meats and offal.
The company raised £200m on the European bond market last year - achieving another first for a Northern Ireland food business.
There was a 'retap' of the bond market over the second quarter, when senior £100m 6.25% notes were issued, with an expiry date of May 2021.
Raising cash on the bond market is viewed as a more reliable means of securing finance than relying on bank and other borrowing.