Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Maple Leaf loses on hog farming

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. lost $9.8 million on hog production in the fiscal year just ended, mainly because hog prices declined and were not fully covered by the company’s risk management strategies.

That compares with a loss of $6.9 million the previous year.

Maple Leaf became a major hog producer when its supply of market hogs for its Brandon, Man., slaughter plant was threatened by the bankruptcy of suppliers.

It took over significant production volume, including Puratone in Manitoba.

Despite tough times in its agribusiness sector, Maple Leaf substantially boosted fourth-quarter profits to $76.2 million from $33.3 million last year and annual profits to $181.7 million from $41.6 million last year.

Fourth-quarter revenues increased by two per cent to $328 million.

President and CEO Michael McCain said the company has made progress in trimming costs and aligning its products with consumer preferences.

The company also announced a new agreement with McCain Capital Corp., which is controlled by the McCain family and is the company’s biggest shareholder.

A majority of directors will be outsiders and will be picked by the board, McCain Capital is restricted to owning less than 45 per cent of the shares unless it makes a bid to buy them all and any individual within McCain Capital is restricted to 20 per cent of shares, again unless that person makes a bid to buy them all.