Land O'Lakes earnings climb in third quarter

by Staff
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ARDEN HILLS, MINN. — Land O’Lakes’ diversified business model served the company well during the third quarter of fiscal 2008, ended Sept. 30. For the quarter, net earnings were $59,936,000, which compared with $5,239,000 during the same period of fiscal 2007. Sales for the quarter were $2,860,308,000 compared with $2,134,573,000 during 2007.

"Our positive results, in this challenging environment, reflect not only strong early-year markets, but also the work we have accomplished in bringing increased focus and discipline to our company and our businesses, as well as our successful commitment to reducing debt and building the balance sheet," said Chris Policinski, chief executive officer. "Combine all of this with strong branded and proprietary product lines, an ongoing dedication to best-cost discipline and an experienced leadership team and workforce, and I am confident we are in a good position to move forward in a very challenging economy."

Land O’Lakes net sales are up 49% over the first three quarters of 2007. Company officials noted that, as a result of the late 2007 repositioning of its Agronomy business, 2008 sales include $2.1 billion in crop protection product (C.P.P.) sales that otherwise would not have been included in the company’s financials. If those C.P.P. sales are factored out, year-to-date net sales would be up 16%.

Within the company’s two food divisions, Dairy Foods and Layer/Eggs, Land O’Lakes struggled with market conditions during the quarter. In Dairy Foods, the company posted third-quarter sales of $985.6 million and a pre-tax loss of $23.4 million, as compared to sales of $1.1 billion and a breakeven third quarter one year ago. In Layers/Eggs, the company recorded $135.5 million in sales and a $7.8 million pre-tax loss in eggs, compared to $123.6 million in sales and pre-tax earnings of $11.4 million for the same quarter in 2007 during the quarter.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2008, Land O’Lakes had net earnings of $224,004,000 compared with $137,367,000 during the first nine months of fiscal 2007. Sales for the period were $9,445,172,000 in 2008 compared with $6,338,872,000 during 2007.

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