(Adds details, comments from CFO)
SAO PAULO, July 30 (Reuters) - BRF SA, the world's largest chicken exporter, on Thursday posted a second-quarter profit of 364 mln reais ($108 million), well below the 437 million reais expected by analysts, as a worsening economy offset potential gains from a weak currency.
BRF benefited from larger returns in reais from its sales abroad as the Brazilian real hovers around its lowest level against the dollar in 12 years, but also felt the impact of a deteriorating economic situation in its home market.
"It is obvious that the Brazilian situation make us cautious about the future. We have achieved good results, but clearly local consumption today is less robust than in the past," said BRF's chief financial officer Augusto Ribeiro in a conference call to reporters.
BRF's sales are split evenly between local and foreign markets. While it exports a lot of poultry, the company has a large processed food operation in Brazil, with a line of ready-to-eat products.
Despite a smaller profit than projected by analysts, other indicators were positive.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a measure of operational efficiency known as EBITDA, rose 43.6 percent from a year ago to 1.38 bln reais ($409 million), slightly above the 1.3 billion reais analysts polled by Reuters had forecast.
Total revenues increased by 12.8 percent in the second quarter to 7.91 billion reais ($2.34 billion).
Its EBITDA margin went from 13.7 percent last year to 17.4 percent now.
Ribeiro said the company has no plans to reduce investments in Brazil despite the recession.
$1 = 3.37 reais Reporting by Marcelo Teixeira; editing by Leslie Adler, Dan Grebler and Diane Craft