November 8, 2018 / 12:33 PM / 8 days ago

UPDATE 1-Brazil's BRF reports wider-than-expected Q3 loss in tough turnaround

(Adds details on BRF earnings)

By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian food processor BRF SA posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss on Thursday as trade embargoes, a drop in sales volumes and higher feed prices weighed on management’s efforts to turn the company around.

In its second quarter after a corporate restructuring following a string of bad financial and operating results, BRF said it lost 812 million reais ($218 million). That was almost double the average loss of 443 million reais forecast by analysts, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

A decrease of roughly 3 percent in total sales volumes was partly compensated by price adjustments which helped the company keep net revenue roughly flat at 8.76 billion reais, BRF said.

BRF, the world’s largest chicken exporter, said the average price of whole chicken in Brazil rose about 10 percent from last year as the market tightened in the face of higher grain costs. BRF also cited one-off events including a truckers strike in May and trade bans as contributing to the price spike.

The trade embargoes, introduced after Europe found gaps in Brazil’s food inspection procedures, more than halved direct BRF poultry sales to Europe and Eurasia, which totaled 8,000 tonnes last quarter compared with 17,000 tonnes a year ago.

A Russian trade ban on Brazilian pork exports also hammered BRF’s business there. The company’s direct pork exports to Europe and Eurasia tumbled to 1,000 tonnes from 28,000 tonnes, the filing showed.

BRF’s international pork sales last quarter fell 37 percent to 31,000 tonnes and international poultry sales fell 8 percent to 181,000 tonnes.

Regarding the sale of assets located in Argentina, Europe and Thailand, BRF said it had started to receive non-binding proposals. It has so far disposed of non-operating assets worth 210 million reais to cut debt as part of its turnaround plan.

BRF maintained the target of reducing indebtedness at a ratio of 4.35 times adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), a measure of operating profit. (Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Mark Potter and Chizu Nomiyama)

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