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Last Trade - 25/09/20

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Small Cap
Market Cap £207.6m
Enterprise Value £219.4m
Revenue £307.5m
Position in Universe 509th / 3012

India's poultry sales decline after coronavirus rumours linked to chickens

Mon 17th February, 2020 12:43pm
By Rajendra Jadhav
    MUMBAI, Feb 17 (Reuters) - India's poultry industry has lost
13 billion rupees ($182 million) in three weeks after
speculation on social media that chickens are a cause of the
spread of coronavirus, denting demand for chicken and nearly
halving prices, say industry officials.
    Millions of small poultry farmers have been hit by a sudden
drop in sales. Soybean and corn producers are also being
affected with prices of both the commodities used in animal feed
have falling up to 8% in the last three weeks.
    While the disease has infected more than 70,000 people in
China and killed at least 1,770 there, only three confirmed
cases have been reported in India. However, rumours that
coronavirus can be transmitted through chickens have appeared on
the WhatsApp message platform in India prompting the authorities
to issue a statement last week that eating chicken is safe. 
    The western state of Maharashtra has called for the police
to act against anyone spreading the rumours.
    "Many people stopped eating chicken believing rumours spread
on WhatsApp," said Uddhav Ahire, chairman of Anand Agro Group, a
poultry company based in the western city of Nashik. "Chicken
prices have crashed due to an abrupt drop in  demand."
    Broiler chicken prices have fallen to 35 rupees a kg from
around 70 rupees in January, he said, adding that farmers are
still losing money as broiler prices are hovering at 40 rupees
per kg.
    Clarifications issued by the authorities appear to have
allayed some fears, with sales starting to gradually improve,
said Prasanna Pedgaonkar, general manager of poultry-focused
Venky's  VENK.NS , which has seen its shares slide more than 20%
in the last month.
    "Sales are not fully recovered. It will take time to go back
to normal level," he said, adding that small and medium farmers
are struggling to absorb losses.
    Vasant Kumar Shetty, president of the Poultry Breeders
Welfare Association in Maharashtra, said: "The industry has been
losing 120 million rupees per day due to lower prices."
    Soybean and corn demand has seen a sharp decline in the last
three weeks as poultry farmers cut down animal feed purchases.
    Small farmers are responding to lower prices by reducing
production and this could lead to lower supplies and higher
prices from April onwards, industry officials said.

 (Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav; Editing by Mike Harrison)
 ((; +91-22-68414378 ; Reuters
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