Seneca net rises 34% in third quarter

by Eric Schroeder
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MARION, N.Y. — Seneca Foods Corp., a processor of canned fruits and vegetables under the Libby’s, Aunt Nellie’s Farm Kitchen, Stokely’s and Seneca brands, posted net income of $18,606,000, equal to $1.53 per share on the common stock, in the third quarter ended Dec. 26. This compared with net income of $13,836,000, or $1.14 per share, in the same period a year ago.

Net sales fell 4% to $447,027,000, down from $463,322,000 in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. The decline was attributed to sales volume reduction of $19 million partially offset by increased selling prices/improved sales mix of $2.7 million, Seneca said.

For the nine months ended Dec. 26, net income was $42,117,000, or $3.47 per share, up sharply from $16,124,000, or $1.33 per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales totaled $1,000,760,000, up narrowly from $995,453,000 in the first nine months of fiscal 2009.

“We continue to be pleased by the strong earnings performance in the third quarter,” said Kraig H. Kayser, president and chief executive officer. “While our sales were lower, predominantly due to reduced sales to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, we continue to witness strength in private label and we believe consumers continue to find strong appeal in the value and nutritional benefits of canned vegetables and fruits. The decline in our U.S.D.A. business was by choice as we were unwilling to sacrifice margins to win some of this business this year. Excluding sales to the U.S.D.A., our top-line would have been up by $12.2 million for the third quarter despite heavy promotional activity by the leading competitive brands.”

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