February 25, 2010 – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported that it returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of last year its earnings boosted by better performance of its prepared meats and fresh poultry businesses.
February 25 – 2010 – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported that it returned to profitability in the fourth quarter of last year its earnings boosted by better performance of its prepared meats and fresh poultry businesses.
"The increased earnings in the fourth quarter reflect significantly better performance in our protein business, offset slightly by a softer quarter in the bakery segment," said Michael H. McCain, President and CEO. "Our prepared meats results improved substantially, although an unexpected, counter seasonal run-up in raw material costs compressed margins in both primary processing and prepared meats late in the quarter. In our bakery operations, lower wheat costs were more than offset by higher promotional activity to launch new products and poor market conditions affecting our U.K. business.
"In 2009, we substantially completed the restructuring of our protein operations and focused our company on higher margin consumer packaged goods. Looking ahead, our priority is to increase earnings and margins to levels consistent with our peers. We have work to do on this goal and it will involve achieving the full potential of our prepared meats business, investing in our plant network to reduce costs, and delivering higher levels of organic growth."
Sales for the fourth quarter decreased 1% to $1,324.9 million compared to $1,339.7 million last year, while sales for the year were consistent at $5.2 billion.
Adjusted Operating Earnings increased to $57.8 million compared to $35.4 million last year, while earnings for the year increased to $196.1 million compared to $128.4 million last year, due to better performance in prepared meats and fresh poultry businesses.
Net earnings increased to $21.9 million or $0.16 per share in the fourth quarter of 2009 compared to a net loss of $14.6 million or $0.12 per share last year.
Earnings in the fourth quarter benefited from an increased contribution from the prepared meats business following a major product recall in August 2008. Although earnings are higher, they compare with a quarter that was materially impacted by the August 2008 product recall, and there still remains significant room to further increase sales and profitability.
SOURCE Maple Leaf Foods Inc.
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