November 4, 2008 / 6:46 PM / in 9 years

UPDATE 2-Saputo reports higher profit, misses expectations

* EPS C$0.33 vs C$0.30

* Analysts expecting earnings per share of C$0.38

* Shares down 0.5 pct at C$24.87

(Adds details)

TORONTO, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Canadian cheese maker Saputo Inc SAP.TO reported a higher quarterly profit on Tuesday, but it missed analysts’ expectations despite a strong performance from a U.S. dairy unit.

Saputo said it earned C$69 million ($60 million), or 33 Canadian cents a share, in its second quarter, up from C$62.5 million, or 30 Canadian cents a share, in the same period last year. Revenue was C$1.45 billion, up from C$1.29 billion.

Analysts, on average, had expected a profit of 38 Canadian cents a share and revenue of C$1.39 billion, according to Reuters Estimates.

The company’s shares were down 0.5 percent at C$24.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.

Saputo, which has been in an acquisitive mood in recent quarters, said its results were helped by a strong showing from its USA Dairy Products Sector and the January 2008 purchase of Alto Dairy Cooperative, based in Wisconsin.

The company said that division boosted revenue by about C$99 million.

However, it said the boost was partially offset by a lower average block market per pound of cheese of $1.86, compared with $1.98 for the same quarter last year, as well as a less favorable by-product market.

Late last month, the Montreal-based company also said it plans to buy the Neilson Dairy division of George Weston Ltd WN.TO for C$465 million, boosting its presence in the Ontario fluid milk market.

The deal, under which Weston will receive C$390 million after taxes, gives Saputo Neilson’s entire line of milk products, including fluid milk and dairy beverages, cream products and nondairy creamers, butter, yogurt, juices and drinks manufactured under the Neilson brand.

$1=$1.15 Canadian Reporting by Scott Anderson; Editing by Peter Galloway

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