Maple Leaf posts higher-than-expected profit

(Dave Bedard photo)

Reuters — Meat-packing company Maple Leaf Foods reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by increased retail sales in Canada and higher exports.

The company, whose brands include Schneiders and namesake Maple Leaf, said adjusted operating earnings rose 10 per cent to $59 million in the first quarter ended March 31.

Maple Leaf, which is Canada’s biggest pork processor, is on a hunt for acquisitions in the U.S., after years spent upgrading old factories and shedding business lines.

In February, the company bought U.S.-based Lightlife Foods, a manufacturer of plant-based protein foods, for US$140 million, Maple Leaf’s first material deal since 2004.

The company said on Thursday its net earnings fell 28.8 per cent to $30.1 million, or 22 cents per share, from a year earlier, hurt by restructuring charges.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf earned 33 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate by three cents.

The company’s sales rose 1.8 per cent to $811.2 million.

Reporting for Reuters by Ahmed Farhatha in Bangalore.

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