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Sweet River triples sales but profit elusive

Published:Wednesday | August 31, 2016 | 12:00 AM

Sweet River Abattoir and Supplies Company reported $71 million of revenue in the June first quarter, a period in which it slaughtered more than 2,000 pigs and tripled its sales.

It's a strong showing for the meat company relative to a year ago when sales amounted to $24 million.

"This increase is due to the availability of pigs and with our new plant that has the capacity accommodate more," the company said in its newly released earnings report.

However, Sweet River also cited relocation to the new slaughterhouse in Ferris, Westmoreland, as having a negative impact on its bottom line, saying the loss of production associated with the move to the new plant contributed to increased losses. The company faced higher costs for electricity, insurance and haulage in the period.

Overall, production costs spiked to $66 million, reflecting a fourfold increase from $16 million.

The company made a net loss of $2.2 million in the quarter, due to both rising production costs and operating expenses, compared to a profit of $1.9 million for the same period in 2015.

Still, Sweet River's outlook remains positive for the periods ahead.

"Despite the challenges, we are happy to report that since June, our key customers have been receiving increased supply and we are now in a position to fully satisfy their demand," the company said.

The abattoir also said it is now positioned to take on additional markets as well as expand its slaughtering service to farmers and organisations.

"The recovery and availability of pigs are encouraging and is expected to increase incrementally leading up to the ham season," Sweet River said.