Maple Leaf
Higher prices and volumes in the Maple Leaf's Meat Products group boost earnings.

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario – Net income at Maple Leaf Foods Inc. surged 70 percent in the third quarter, lifted by lower operating costs, higher prices and stronger sales volume.

For the three months ended Sept. 30, net income for the period was C$31.83 million ($24.8 million), or 24 Canadian cents per share, compared with C$18.68 million, or 18 Canadian cents per share, reported in the third quarter of 2015.

Total sales for the third quarter were C$852.1 million ($636.8 million) compared with C$818.8 million in the year-ago quarter.

“Our results in the quarter and for the year-to-date demonstrate the consistent performance we expected from our many years of strategic transformation,” Michael H. McCain, president and CEO, said in a statement. “We are now focused on the next horizon for Maple Leaf, supported by the pillars of our strategy including leading in sustainability, driving innovation and growth, consistently reducing our costs and expanding our geographic footprint. These are exciting times at Maple Leaf.”

On a segment basis, the Meat Products group, which includes value-added prepared meals, lunch kits, snacks and value-added pork and poultry products, reported a 4.1 percent increase in sales to C$848.1 million, or 2.8 percent after adjusting for foreign currency exchange.

“Sales in fresh pork increased as the company’s focus on increasing its value-added pork business resulted in improved selling prices and increased volumes,” the company said. “Fresh poultry sales also increased due to stronger volume and an improved sales mix.”

Adjusted operating earnings totaled C$65.9 million compared with C$28.3 million a year ago. “Higher earnings in prepared meats resulted from lower operating costs across the network and pricing implemented in the first quarter,” the company noted. “Higher fresh pork earnings resulted from increased contributions from value-added Canadian retail and value-added export sales, higher industry margins, and operating efficiency gains.”

In the Agribusiness Group, that includes the company’s Canadian hog production operations, adjusted operating earnings swung to a loss of C$4.4 million in the third quarter, compared with earnings of C$1.6 million in the third quarter of 2015.

Maple Leaf Foods declared a dividend of 9 Canadian cents per share on Nov. 1.