Maple Leaf dishes up first-quarter profit

Reuters — Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by higher earnings in its prepared meats business.

Adjusted operating earnings in the meat products segment rose nearly eight-fold to $61.3 million in the Toronto company’s first quarter, helped by lower operating costs and price increases.

The company, whose brands include Schneiders and namesake Maple Leaf, recently completed a restructuring program started in 2010 to boost earnings by shutting some plants and modernizing others.

Maple Leaf’s net earnings were $42.3 million, or 31 cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $2.9 million, or two cents per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf earned 28 cents per share.

Total sales for the company, one of Canada’s biggest pork processors, rose 2.1 per cent to $796.9 million.

Analysts on average had expected Maple Leaf to earn 23 cents per share on sales of $816.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Arathy S. Nair in Bangalore.

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