October 30, 2018 / 10:52 AM / 20 days ago

China's WH Group Q3 profit dives 31 pct as trade disputes weigh

BEIJING, Oct 30 (Reuters) - China’s WH Group Ltd said on Tuesday its third-quarter net profit plunged 30.9 percent to $199 million, as lower prices amid higher supplies and trade disputes dented the world’s top pork producer’s income in the United States.

The sharp decline, based on a comparison of first-half and nine-month numbers released on Tuesday, underlined challenges faced by the pork-producing sector.

WH Group, which owns U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc, said average pork prices in the United States dropped 11.9 percent in the first nine months of the year, due to higher supplies.

Escalating trade friction between Washington and other nations also affected prices, the company said.

In April, China slapped a 25-percent import duty on most U.S. pork items in response to U.S. tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminium products. Pork products were also included in a second round of tariffs of 25 percent introduced in July.

The Sino-U.S. trade dispute sharply dented U.S. pork exports to China though sales to other markets have increased.

The company’s third-quarter net profit came in at $199 million, a sharp dive from $287 million a year ago. While, revenue fell 3.75 percent year-on-year to $5.4 billion, according to calculations based on the nine-month statement.

Henan Shuanghui Investment and Development Co Ltd , the group’s Chinese business, reported a 1.6 percent rise in net profit for the quarter at 1.24 billion yuan ($178.14 million). Revenue fell 2.82 percent to 12.89 billion yuan.

Hong Kong-listed shares of WH Group have plunged more than 40 percent since Beijing first threatened to hit U.S. pork imports with tariffs as the trade spat escalated between the world’s top two economies.

The stock closed 0.36 percent higher at HKD5.62 per share on Tuesday.

$1 = 6.9609 Chinese yuan Reporting by Dominique Patton, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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