Maple Leaf swings to loss in quarter

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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TORONTO — Maple Leaf Foods, Inc. sustained a loss of C$10,000 ($9,871) for the quarter ended March 31, partially the result of increases in commodity prices.

The loss in the quarter compared with earnings of C$10,463,000 during the same quarter of 2007. Sales for the quarter were C$1,203,263,000 ($1,187,779,000) down 9% from C$1,316,135,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

"Operating earnings for the quarter were substantially impacted by continued increases in worldwide prices for wheat, grains and other commodities," said Michael H. McCain, president and chief executive officer. "These effects, while material, are temporary and are expected to reverse as markets stabilize through a combination of price increase, some reduction in wheat prices as new crops come to market and livestock price increases as hog supplies tighten. We fully expect these to be difficult but transitory market conditions. Our underlying operations, in particular the value-added meats and bakery businesses, are very well positioned and early successes in the company’s protein restructuring is building a solid base for higher earnings."

In the Meat Products Group, adjusted operating earnings were C$21,100,000, down 1% from C$21,400,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were C$762,545,000, down 15% from C$762,545,000 during the same quarter of 2007.

The Agribusiness Group had a loss of C$3,400,000 in adjusted operating earnings, which compared with earnings of C$900,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the group were C$58,594,000, down 7% from C$62,895,000 during the same quarter of 2007.

The Bakery Products Group had adjusted operating earnings of C$15,400,000, down 44% from C$27,600,000 during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the group were C$382,124,000, up 7% from C$382,124,000 during the same quarter of 2007.

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