February 23, 2010 / 3:05 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-George Weston posts lower Q4 profit

* Q4 EPS C$0.55 vs C$3.06 year-ago

* Q4 sales down 6 pct

Feb 23 (Reuters) - North American food processor George Weston Ltd WN.TO reported a lower quarterly profit and said it was assessing strategic options for its cash and short-term investments due to foreign exchange fluctuations.

The company said fluctuation in the U.S. dollar would continue to impact its earnings in 2010 and that it would remain focused on cost reduction initiatives.

For the fourth quarter, the company earned C$82 million, or 55 Canadian cents a share, compared with C$405 million, or C$3.06 a share, a year ago.

George Weston, which owns No. 1 Canadian supermarket chain Loblaw Co L.TO, said that its year-ago results included a gain of C$2.18 per share from the disposal of its dairy and bottling operations.

The company earned 52 Canadian cents a share from continuing operations in the latest quarter.

Sales were down about 6 percent to C$7.54 billion.

Analysts on average expected the company to earn 82 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of the company were up 23 Canadian cents at C$70.93 Tuesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Ashutosh Joshi in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal)

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