TORONTO — As raw material prices increased, earnings for Maple Leaf Foods fell 50% for the year despite a 30% increase in fourth-quarter earnings.

Earnings for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010, were C$25,822,000 ($26,288,327), equal to C$0.19 per share on the common stock, which compared with an income of C$52,147,000, equal to C$0.40 per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were C$4,968,119,000 ($5,053,396,925), down 5% from C$5,221,602,000 during the previous year.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, the company had earnings of C$30,179,000 ($30,697,972), equal to C$0.22 per share, which compared with earnings of C$21,920,000, equal to C$0.16 per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were C$1,212,035,000 ($1,232,957,236), down 9% from C$1,324,903,000 during the same quarter of the previous year.

“Maple Leaf Foods delivered strong earnings growth in the fourth quarter, despite a sharp increase in raw material prices,” said Michael H. McCain, president and chief executive officer. “These results reflect the benefits of cost reductions and price increases intended to help us keep pace with global food inflation, and some early benefits from the initial execution of our strategic plan. We expect the progress we are making in reducing our cost structure, simplifying our product lines, and streamlining our operations will contribute to earnings throughout 2011.”