MONTERREY, MEXICO — Production down times arising from labor issues at company operations in Venezuela dragged down earnings at Gruma S.A.B. de C.V. in fiscal 2012. Majority net income for the Monterrey-based maker of tortillas and corn flour totaled 1,115 million pesos ($87.4 million) in the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2012, down 79% from 5,271 million pesos in fiscal 2011.

Sales totaled 64,317 million pesos ($5,041 million), up 12% from 57,645 million pesos in the same period a year ago.

Operating income at Gruma Corp. totaled 1,392 million pesos ($109.1 million), up 34% from 1,041 million pesos in fiscal 2011. Net sales totaled 26,645 million pesos ($2,088 million), up 7% from 24,810 million pesos a year ago. Sales volume at Gruma Corp. increased 8%.

Operating income at GIMSA totaled 1,749 million pesos, down 1% from 1,771 million pesos in fiscal 2011. Net sales totaled 17,573 million pesos, up 14%. Sales volume at GIMSA was up narrowly, to 1,983,000 tonnes from 1,959,000 tonnes.

Gruma said its capital expenditure program totaled $61 million during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 and $212 million during all of fiscal 2012. During the fourth quarter, most of the capital expenditures were allocated to U.S. operations for the construction of a tortilla plant in Florida that started operations at the end of the fourth quarter, capacity expansions at existing plants, and technology upgrades. To a lesser extent, Gruma also invested in other regions, particularly in England for the expansion of a tortilla plant and in Mexico for the expansion of a corn flour plant in Chiapas.

At a recent board of directors meeting, Gruma approved several initiatives designed to enhance the company’s value creation. The initiatives being implemented include:

• Focus on core businesses and analysis of potential reductions in the business portfolio.

• Rationalization of administrative expenses by optimizing shared services and administrative structures at corporate and operational levels.

• Rationalization of marketing expenses, especially advertising, through highly targeted campaigns.

• Reduction in allowances programs by focusing on effectiveness and targeted products, especially at Gruma Corp.

• Reduction in capital expenditures based on: postponing entry into new regions; leveraging available installed capacity in regions where the company has a presence; and stricter profitability criteria for each investment.

“We expect to see benefits from these initiatives as soon as (the first quarter) with increases throughout the year, allowing the company to improve results and reduce debt,” Gruma said.