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Ekosem boost Russian milk sales, despite price slump

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Ekoniva is boosting its milk production, and its profits, in Russia, despite the plummeting milk price.

Ekosem-Agar, the German-based holding company for Ekoniva, a dairy, meat and livestock company based in Russia, reported steady euro-denominated returns, and rising milk sales.

But the low milk price, and the cost of financing in Russia, are "weighing on the bottom line".

Stefan Dürr, Ekosem-Agrar's main shareholder and managing director noted the "extremely low global milk prices and the difficult financing conditions in Russia".

"The continued very low milk price and the relatively high rouble exchange rate in the first quarter additionally weighed on the bottom line," he said.

Rising output

Ekosem grew its dairy cow herd by 14% to 25,000 head, while annualised milk output rose by 17%, to 180,000 tonnes.

By growing output the company bucked a weakening trend in Russian dairy production.

The USDA expects Russian milk output to fall for the fourth straight year in 2016, down 45,000 tones to 29.980m tonnes.

This would be the lowest Russian production has been since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

Bottoming prices

Ekosem has had to contend with very low global milk prices over the period.

Prices on the Global Dairy Trade auction site fell by some 33% between March 2015 and March 2016, after bottoming out in the August of last year, then staging a slight recovery.

Milk prices have barely changed since that point.

But rouble-denominated milk sales were some 30% higher, despite the falling milk price, thanks to a "much higher milk output"

The company also increased its returns from crop and meat sales.

Steady sales

Across the group, sales in euros were steady year on year, at E98.1m, despite the decline of the rouble over the same period.

Adjusted for the rouble depreciation, sales were up 34% over the period.

Ekosem's earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) reached E56.6, ahead of forecasts of E50-55m.

But Ekosem's consolidated net income fell year on year, to E5.7m, from E17.2m million.


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