Thursday, October 29, 2015

Maple Leaf finally posts a profit

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has finally made a quarterly profit, but chief executive and president Michael McCain said it fell short of his goal.

The third-quarter profit is $18.7 million compared with a loss of $26.7 million in the same quarter last year.

It has been years since the company has had a quarterly profit as it underwent major changes, including construction of a huge bakery and then meat-processing plant in Hamilton.

The bakery division was sold to Bimbo Bakery of Mexico. The meat plant has finally replaced a number of other plants that have been closed, including the J.M. Schneider plant in Kitchener.

The company has also sold its turkey-farming quotas and its turkey processing plant, its Shur Gain and Landmark feeds businesses and its Rothsay Concentrates rendering plants in Ontario and Montreal.

As for the new Hamilton plant, McCain says “we are making meaningful progress on eliminating inefficiencies driven by the ramp-up of our new facilities, though not at the pace we had hoped for.”

Sales for the third quarter were only a fraction of one per cent less than the same quarter last year - $818.8 million – but were down sharply in the Agribusiness division, which is mainly hog production.

Hog prices are much lower now than a year ago, so the division’s sales declined from $5.4 to just under $4 million. However, profits for the division were $1,581,000 this year compared with a loss of $1,610,000 last year.

The hog production is in Manitoba and Saskatchewan to supply the company’s hog-packing plant at Brandon, Man.