Saputo third-quarter earnings decline

by Keith Nunes
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MONTREAL — Saputo Inc. recorded net earnings of C$57,759,000 ($46,864,807), equal to C28c per share on the common stock, for the third quarter ended Dec. 31, 2008. The results compared unfavorably to the same period during the previous year when the dairy processor had net earnings of C$82,018,000, or C40c per share.

Sales during the quarter were C$1,515,457,000 ($1,234,119,000), which compared with C$1,277,037,000 for the same period during the previous year.

The depressed results were due to several factors, including an inventory write-down due to a decrease in the average block market price of cheddar cheese selling on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, lower-than-expected international selling prices and plant related closing costs for the company’s Hinesburg, Vt., manufacturing facility.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2009, net earnings were C$209,750,000 ($170,810,000), or C$1.02 per share, compared with C$212,989,000, or C$1.03 per share. Sales during the period were C$4,332,911,000, which compared with sales of C$3,792,754,000 during the first nine months of fiscal 2008.

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