Land O'Lakes net income up 55%

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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ARDEN HILLS, MINN. — Strength in the company’s Dairy Foods, Feed, Seed and Agronomy businesses helped offset depressed egg prices at Land O’Lakes, Inc., as net income in the second quarter ended June 30 rose 54.4% to $25,847,000, up from $16,744,000 in the same period a year ago.

Net sales in the quarter were $1,808,093,000, down 9% from $1,993,072,000 in the second quarter of fiscal 2004.

In a breakdown of financials within its business units, Land O’Lakes said Dairy Foods recorded a pre-tax loss of $8,300,000 in the quarter, compared with a pre-tax loss of $18,700,000 in the same year-ago period. Sales for the quarter totaled $937 million, down about $63 million from a year ago.

Land O’Lakes reported on the strong performance of new branded products in Dairy Foods, including Land O’Lakes Light Butter with Canola Oil, introduced in the first quarter; the launch of a new "zero trans fat" formulation of its popular Fresh Buttery Taste Spread; the continued growth in Croplan Genetics-branded seed sales; government approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa, developed in cooperation with Monsanto; the continued strength of the Land O’Lakes and Purina brands in Feed, as well as the progress of the new Lake Country brand; and continued growth in AgriSolutions-branded crop protection product sales.

While volumes improved versus last year in Layers/Eggs, company officials said depressed egg prices had an adverse effect on dollar sales and earnings. (Through June, average egg prices were down 37% versus one year ago.)

The lower egg prices contributed to a pre-tax loss of $16,100,000 in the company’s Layers/Eggs business, which compared with pre-tax earnings of $7,600,000 in the same year-ago period. Sales for the quarter were $86 million, down from $143.3 million.

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