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GFPT Expands, Monitors EU Embargo

by 5m Editor
3 April 2012, at 11:07am

THAILAND - GFPT Plc, the SET-listed chicken producer and exporter, outlined a 1.5-billion-baht investment plan to help it manage its business more sustainably and achieve annual sales of 20 billion baht in three years.

Bangkok Post reports that the investment would add parent-stock chicken farms this year and two more broiler farm projects from 2013-14, which will increase the group's capacity to process 300,000 chickens a day, up from 250,000.

Vice-president Jutamas Ingpochai said the expansion would lead to stronger exports of chicken meat, which are projected at 480,000 tonnes this year, up by 4 per cent from last year.

She said the possibility the EU could resume imports of fresh chickens from Thailand by mid-year is promising.

The EU and leading importer Japan banned imports of raw meat from Thailand after bird flu was detected in 2004.

Only imports of heat-treated meat have been allowed since then, shrinking fresh chicken exports to only 96 tonnes in 2005 from 200,000 tonnes a year previously before finally improving to 27,258 tonnes last year.

The Commerce Ministry said EU officials are scheduled to review the Thai poultry industry sometime mid-year.

If the ban is lifted, Thai exporters will be allowed a quota of 92,610 tonnes of raw chickens per year to the EU. The EU allots Thailand 160,033 tonnes of processed chicken meat.

"The worst-case scenario is if the EU finds enough bird flu-tainted poultry in neighbouring countries to uphold the ban," said Ms Jutamas.

Thailand has been free from bird flu since 2009, and most export-oriented poultry farms have adopted biosecurity farming models to ensure hygienic meat.

GFPT earns 1 billion baht from exports to the EU and forecasts lifting the ban would improve export prices of all chicken products. The EU made up 60 per cent of export volume last year, 14,000 tonnes, plus 16,300 tonnes in indirect exports.

Ms Jutamas said GFPT's sales this year will rise by 10 per cent from 2011 to 15 billion baht thanks to higher revenue contributions from the newly established GFPT Nichirei (Thailand) Co or GFN, a joint venture between GFPT and Nichirei Food Inc of Japan.

The venture worth 2.2 billion baht opened in late 2010 and is expected to hit full capacity this year, contributing over 20 per cent to GFPT's revenue.

Ms Jutamas said GFN requires 100,000 birds from GFPT farms every day for processed chicken meat products for export.

This prompted GFPT to expand its broiler farm capacity to 250,000 birds a day last year.

GFPT also sells livestock and aqua feed domestically such as shrimp and fish feed.

The company achieved revenue of 14.2 billion baht last year, up by 14 per cent from 2010, for a net profit of 1.2 billion baht, up by 3 per cent.

GFPT shares closed unchanged Friday on the SET at 10.30 baht in trade worth 34.3 million baht.