Land O'Lakes earnings climb 83% in fiscal 2007

by Eric Schroeder
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ARDEN HILLS, MICH. — Net income at Land O’Lakes, Inc. in the year ended Dec. 31 rose 83% to $162,076,000, up from income of $88,666,000 in fiscal 2006. Net sales rose 26% in the year to $8,924,895,000, which compared with sales of $7,102,289,000 in the year-ago period.

"The past year was highlighted by improved performance nearly across the board, continued balance sheet strength and strategic progress in positioning for the future," said Chris Policinski, president and chief executive officer. "Clearly, strong markets, particularly in dairy and eggs, helped boost both dollar sales and earnings. However, our organization-wide commitment to leveraging our brand strength, aggressive portfolio management and effective cost control put us in a position to translate market strength into improved business performance and financial results."

Overall, the dairy foods segment registered pre-tax earnings of $87.4 million for the year, which compared with $47.2 million in fiscal 2006. Land O’Lakes said fiscal 2007 earnings included a $28.5 million gain on the sale of its Cheese & Protein International assets.

The feed division posted pre-tax earnings of $30.9 million, down from $36.7 million in 2006. Feed sales were $3.1 billion, up 15% from $2.7 billion.

The layers/eggs division, which the company participates in via MoArk L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary, reported pre-tax earnings of $24.6 million in fiscal 2007 on sales of $514 million. This compared with a pre-tax loss of $40.2 million and sales of $398 million in the same period a year ago.

The company’s agronomy business, conducted through the joint venture Agriliance, recorded pre-tax earnings of $13.6 million, up 15% from $11.8 million.

The seed division posted pre-tax earnings of $43.9 million on sales of $917 million, which compared with $40.1 million and $756 million, respectively, in fiscal 2006.

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