February 7, 2012 / 5:28 PM / 6 years ago

UPDATE 3-Saputo earnings rise after acquisition

(Adds details on milk recall from conference call; updates shares)

* Q3 EPS C$0.64 vs C$0.54 last year

* Revenue up 17.1 pct to C$1.80 billion

Feb 7 (Reuters) - Canadian dairy producer Saputo Inc reported higher profits and revenue on Tuesday, helped by improved efficiency and last March’s acquisition of Wisconsin’s DCI Cheese Co.

The Montreal-based company said those factors, as well as higher exports by its division in Argentina and a favorable dairy ingredients market in Canada, offset poorer U.S. results.

Saputo, which produces and distributes milk, cheese and some baked goods from nearly 50 plants in North America, South America and Europe, said milk costs hurt its U.S. results.

Net earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose to C$129.8 million ($130.5 million) or 64 Canadian cents a share, from C$112.1 million, or 54 Canadian cents, a year earlier. Revenue rose 17.1 percent to C$1.80 billion.

Last month, Saputo had voluntarily recalled one of its skimmed milk products due to contamination with a sanitation fluid.

“We did have an incident where some sanitation fluid got mixed in with a tank for fluid milk, small quantities, but a serious issue for us. This is why we went with a voluntary recall... For all intents and purposes that recall is behind us,” a company executive said on a conference call.

Saputo shares were up 1.34 percent at C$41.47 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

$1 = $0.99 Canadian Reporting By Allison Martell and Maneesha Tiwari; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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