Tootsie Roll earnings rise 38% in '09

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — Net income at Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. rose 38% in fiscal 2009, boosted by a 1% increase in net sales. Earnings in the year ended Dec. 31, 2009, totaled $53,475,000, equal to 95c per share on the common stock, up from $38,777,000, or 68c per share, in fiscal 2008. Net sales rose to $495,592,000 from $492,051,000.

In its annual report filed March 5 with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Tootsie Roll said it distributes product through approximately 100 candy and grocery brokers and by the company itself to 15,000 customers throughout the United States.

The company’s largest customer is Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Bentonville, Ark., which accounted for 22.9% of Tootsie Roll’s total net sales in fiscal 2009. This compared with a 23.5% share in fiscal 2008 and a 22.4% share in 2007. No other customer accounts for more than 10% of net sales, Tootsie Roll said.

The company said prices for corn syrup, dairy products and vegetable oil declined during 2009, while the price of sugar rose, reflecting lower crop yields in Brazil and India. Energy costs, including fuel surcharges, declined in 2009, Tootsie Roll said, while packaging material costs, including films, cartons and waxed paper, all increased.

“The company continues to seek competitive bids to leverage the high volume of annual purchases it makes of many items and to lower per unit costs,” Tootsie Roll said.

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