May 7, 2018 / 4:35 PM / a year ago

Top tuna producer Thai Union reports 39 pct drop in Q1 profit

BANGKOK, May 7 (Reuters) - The world’s largest canned tuna producer Thai Union Group Pcl reported a 39 percent drop in quarterly profit due to falling sales and a drop in tuna prices.

Thai Union reported on Monday net profit of 869 million baht ($27.28 million) in its first quarter ending in March, beating the average estimate of 855 million baht in a Reuters poll of four analysts.

Sales dropped 5.5 percent from a year earlier.

Inventories of higher priced tuna and a stronger baht contributed to a decline in the gross profit margin to 11.3 percent versus 14.5 percent in the same period a year ago.

Competition in its North American market, which accounted for 40 percent of sales, also contributed to the fall in sales.

The average tuna price in the first quarter fell 3.5 percent from a year ago to $1,577 per ton. In April, tuna prices recovered to $1,800 per ton.

$1 = 31.8500 baht Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Mark Potter

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