2 SISTERS has failed to turn a profit in its protein division for the fifth quarter running, its parent company’s latest financial update reveals.

Boparan Holdings said “double-digit” feed inflation and operational challenges during Christmas had impacted the bottom line, though its European division and UK Added Value Poultry showed “marginal gains”.

Protein is largely made up of the firm’s fresh chicken business and is by some margin the largest division.

Its like-for-like sales were down 0.4% to £454.5m in the 13 weeks to 26 January 2019. But 2 Sisters said underlying growth, when accounting for the closure of its fish business, was 2.2%.

The like-for-like operating loss was £5.2m (Q2 2017/18: loss £9.9m)

Boparan Holdings as a whole reported 1% like-for-like sales growth in the quarter to £684.1m and a like-for-like operating loss of £2.9m, compared with a £0.1m loss in the same period the year before.

The filing also said a senior loan note of £155m that is due in 2019 was on schedule to be repaid. Boparan Holdings made a £95m contribution in December last year, with a further £95m scheduled to be repaid in April this year and the remaining £50m in May.

Ronald Kers, chief executive at 2 Sisters said: “We remain on course with our business turnaround at our financial half-year point, and we have created the necessary impetus to start seeing results emerging in the following quarters.

“Our UK poultry business has stabilised and we have completed further diagnostic work which will help improve performance.

“We have already seen encouraging signs in Europe with margin improvement following expansion, and positive results in our Added Value Poultry division in the UK.”