Moy Park Dungannon Factory

Source: Moy Park 

The Northern Ireland-based poultry giant saw operating profit fall by 58.1% (or £50m) to £36.2m in the face of significant cost increases in feed, utilities and labour 

Profits at Moy Park slumped by more than half last year in the wake of “unprecedented” inflationary pressures on the business, latest accounts have shown.

Turnover at the Pilgrim’s Pride-owned supplier grew by 4.8% to £1.53bn for the year to 31 December 2021, according to its annual report and accounts, posted at Companies House.

However, the Northern Ireland-based poultry giant saw operating profit fall by 58.1% (or £50m) to £36.2m in the face of significant cost increases in feed, utilities and labour during “an extremely challenging year”.

Cost of sales also grew significantly, by 9.8% to just under £1.4bn. Moy Park said the “high cost inflation which affected the whole poultry industry” also contributed to a 7.2% increase in sales and distribution expenses to £68.4m, while the company’s net asset value fell by 9% to £374m on 2020 levels.

The supplier warned 2021’s inflationary pressures would continue into the 2022 financial year – which has seen continuing concerns over labour and the threat of avian flu, plus soaring feed and energy prices across the poultry sector.

However, Moy Park still paid out an interim dividend of £50m during the financial year, and despite the challenges it faced, the supplier “remained profitable” due to its trading models and customer negotiations, allied to an “unrelenting focus on cost control, excellent customer relationships and a culture of constant innovation”, it said. The recovery of the foodservice segment also “partially offset” some costs.

2021 also saw the processor invest £43m in its infrastructure, as it sought to continue “to secure Moy Park’s position as one of the UK’s most advanced food manufacturing companies”.

“We remain steadfast in the delivery of our strategy in the face of unprecedented inflationary pressures as is reflected by our increase in sales,” said Moy Park president Chris Kirke.

“Our commitment to excellence is reflected in our sustainable growth business plan and over the past year we have invested £43m in our facilities, further strengthening our position as one of the UK’s leading food companies, committed to providing fresh, high-quality and locally farmed poultry products.

“Our business is built on the highest standards of food safety and quality, and we continue to meet and exceed the ever-evolving expectations of consumers and our customers through innovation, food development, consumer insight and category marketing,” he added.

“While we operate against challenging headwinds, we are confident in our vision to be the best and most respected company in our industry. Key to our success is our focus on our people and the communities in which we operate, and I’m proud that each member of our team strives to deliver to deliver a better future for all in Moy Park.”

The supplier’s results follow a £95.5m loss by rival 2 Sisters Food Group last year, citing similar cost challenges.

It comes as the supplier announced an extension of its branded offering in Ocado last week with a new range of branded, added-value chicken.

The range features three lines: whole breast Chicken Kievs with creamy garlic butter, Tempura Chicken Mini Fillets and Buttermilk Burgers coated in a pepper breadcrumb (rsp: £4 each). The NPD is available now at the online retailer, and offered shoppers “restaurant style coated chicken in their own homes”, Moy Park said.