With special expenses, Tasty Baking loss widens
by Josh Sosland
PHILADELPHIA — Tasty Baking Co. in the first quarter ended March 27 sustained a loss of $3,920,000, versus a $70,000 loss during the first quarter last year. Sales were $72,287,000, down 6%.
A number of special charges helped push Tasty Baking into the red during the quarter. On a pre-tax basis, the company had accelerated depreciation of $2.7 million in the quarter, versus $1.3 million in the first quarter of 2009. Additionally, Tasty Baking said it had $2.9 million, pre-tax, of additional expenses related to the need to maintain two production facilities simultaneously in Philadelphia as well as costs for the transition to the new facility in the Navy Yard. The company recorded $500,000 in severance charges in the first quarter, mostly related to a sales department reorganization.
Sales during the quarter were affected adversely by severe winter weather, a February fire at the company’s Hunting Park baking plant and “transition-related production and distribution issues at the new facility in the Philadelphia Navy Yard,” the company said.
Recounting difficulties for Tasty Baking in the first quarter, Charles P. Pizzi, president and chief executive officer, also noted the overall marketplace for snack cakes was in decline.
“The first quarter of 2010 was a challenging period for us,” Mr. Pizzi said. “We had a confluence of events that severely limited our ability to fulfill existing orders and meet demand in the market, including an oven fire at our Hunting Park facility, extreme winter weather, and production line issues tied to the transition to the new bakery at the Philadelphia Navy Yard.
“In addition to the impact of unfulfilled demand, during the quarter we also incurred approximately $2.9 million in transition-related expenses. While category sales in our core markets were down in the first quarter of 2010 as compared to the prior year, we were once again able to marginally outpace the category.
“Currently, we have five of seven production lines transitioned to the new facility. We remain focused on completing the transition of the remaining lines so that we can complete the sale of our Hunting Park facility and turn our full attention to the optimization of our operations at the Navy Yard. We are confident in our ability to navigate through the many challenges currently facing us and ultimately emerge as a more efficient and a more profitable company."