Law enforcement and anti-corruption agencies should verify budget subsidies and dividends paid by Ukrainian poultry giant Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP), according to the country’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Speaking at a meeting of the National Council on Anti-Corruption Policy, Mr Zelensky said state funding had gone to MHP when “it does not need government support”.

Ukrainian news agency Interfax Ukraine reported Mr Zelensky as saying: “In 2017-2018, one of the largest agricultural holdings of Ukraine, Myronivsky Hliboproduct (MHP), was given almost UAH 2.5 billion (€85.5m) in subsidies from the state budget.

“In fact, it does not need government support, because it has super profits and it annually pays huge dividends to its shareholders.”

The comments came just a day after MHP SE released a trading update for the second quarter and six months to the end of June.

Over this period, the company purchased Slovenian-based poultry company Perutnina Ptuj.

MHP has plans to invest in operations in Bosnia, according to recent comments by the nation’s agriculture department, which said MHP officials had presented a five-year investment plan to Boris Pasalic, the republic’s Agriculture Minister.

It is understood MHP want to spend €200m on extending Perutnina Ptuj’s production network.

MHP owns and operates each of the key stages of chicken production processes, from feed grains and fodder production to egg hatching and grow out to processing, marketing, distribution and sales.

MHP SE reported that poultry production volumes in Q2 rose by 18% to 181,273 tonnes compared with 153,137 tonnes in the same period last year.

Exports rose by 43% in itis first half compared with the period in 2018, while domestic sales were static.

Full financial results for Q2 and the first half of the year will be published in early September.