Seneca Foods earnings down sharply in '11

by Eric Schroeder
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MARION, N.Y. — Earnings at Seneca Foods Corp. fell 64% in fiscal 2011, as the company sustained a loss in the fourth quarter. Net income in the year ended March 31 was $17,671,000, equal to $1.45 per share on the common stock, down from $48,411,000, or $3.98 per share, in fiscal 2010.

Net sales in fiscal 2011 also were lower, falling 7% to $1,194,612,000 from $1,280,110,000 in fiscal 2010.
During the fourth quarter ended March 31, Seneca suffered a loss of $1,877,000 on sales of $252,972,000. This compared with earnings of $6,294,000 on sales of $279,350,000 in the same period a year ago.

“The lower sales in the fourth quarter come from a combination of lower selling prices and a later Easter, which delayed holiday sales into April,” said Kraig H. Kayser, president and chief executive officer. “The loss in the quarter was due to the continuing impact on margins of the inventory overhang in the market as the company promoted heavily to move excess product. While we are making progress in getting our inventories in line with historic norms, it will take some time to get margins back to improved levels, especially in our fruit business, where the oversupply situation has been particularly dramatic.”

Seneca is one of the United States’ largest processors of canned fruits and vegetables with products sold under the Libby’s, Aunt Nellie’s Farm Kitchen, Stokely’s, Seneca Farms and Seneca labels.
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