Restructuring efforts hinder Maple Leaf Foods

by Keith Nunes
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TORONTO — A C$26.1 million cost associated with restructuring activities hindered Maple Leaf Foods’ earnings during the first quarter of fiscal 2011. For the quarter ended March 31, the company’s net income was C$10,541,000 ($11,077,209), equal to C8c per share on the common stock, a decline compared with the same period during the previous year when Maple Leaf Foods recorded earnings of C$19,892,000 ($20,897,100), equal to C14c per share.

Sales during the first quarter were C$1,147,942,000 ($1,205,945,802), which compared with C$1,191,507,000 ($1,251,831,467) during the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

Improved market conditions in North America helped propel the earnings of Maple Leaf’s Meat Products Group higher. During the quarter the Meat Products Group’s earnings were C$26.1 million compared with C$11.6 million during the first quarter of fiscal 2010. Sales for the division were down 7% to $718.2 million compared with 2010. The company attributed the decline in sales to the sale of its Burlington, Ont., pork processing facility.

An 18% increase in live hog prices pushed Maple Leaf’s Agribusiness Group earnings higher to C$14 million during the quarter compared with C$6.3 million during fiscal 2010. With sales of $57.3 million during the quarter, the Agribusiness Group experienced a 37% increase compared with fiscal 2010. Of the increase, the company said 25% of it was due to higher sales values of live hogs.

Earnings for the Bakery Products Group declined 20% to C$12.2 million during the quarter. Higher wheat prices and lower volumes in North America and the U.K. both hurt the division’s earnings. Sales for the Bakery Products Group were down 2% to C$372.4 million.

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