UPDATE 1-Maple Leaf Foods reports adjusted profit as costs fall

Thu Apr 30, 2015 8:37am EDT
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April 30 (Reuters) - Maple Leaf Foods reported a profit on an adjusted basis after six quarters due to lower operating costs as the Canadian meat processor worked through its plan to upgrade its plants.

Maple Leaf, whose brands include Schneiders meat, is nearing the end of a multi-year program to replace old plants with modern facilities as it seeks to boost profits and better compete with U.S. rivals.

Restructuring and related costs at Maple's meat products group fell nearly 26 percent to C$8.5 million ($7.07 million).

As part of its plan to focus on its meat operations, Maple Leaf, sold its bakery business, Canada Bread Co, to Mexico's Grupo Bimbo last year.

Sales of meat products, which contributes more than 95 percent to Maple's total sales, rose about 10 percent to C$776.4 million, helped partly by increased prices for its prepared meats business and higher fresh pork sales.

The company, one of Canada's biggest pork processors, reported an adjusted earnings of 5 Canadian cents per share, in line with analysts' average estimates, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net loss from continuing operations narrowed to C$2.8 million ($2.41 million), or 2 Canadian cents per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from C$124.6 million, or 89 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier.

The Toronto-based company's stock had risen about 24 percent over the past 12 months. ($1 = C$1.2036) (Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Joyjeet Das)