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Agropur books increased sales, profits for 2010

A business strategy based on expansion into the U.S. and export markets has paid dividends in fiscal 2010, according to Canada’s largest dairy co-operative.

Longueuil, Que.-based Agropur on Wednesday reported net earnings of $39.7 million on total sales of $3.345 billion for its year ending Oct. 30, up from $33.39 million on $3.053 billion in the year-earlier period.

Earnings before patronage dividends and income taxes reached $151.28 million, up from $138.27 million in fiscal 2009, while the total patronage dividends to its 3,459 members (down from 3,533) were $101.25 million, up from $92.45 million.

“While we cannot take anything for granted, the fact remains that Agropur is currently experiencing the best years of its history; clearly, its strategy based on expansion and growth is bearing fruit,” chairman Serge Riendeau said in a release.

“Becoming a player on the international scene allows Agropur to import knowledge about the world dairy industry, thus improving its members’ expertise over time,” the co-op said in its annual report.

The company billed itself as having made “significant investments” in its various facilities during the year, to maintain both product and facility quality.

Agropur also made two acquisitions in the U.S. during its fiscal year: the Green Meadows cheese plant in Iowa, in December 2009, and Main Street Ingredients, a Wisconsin-based firm specializing in “functional” products, in December 2010.

The company’s total milk processed during fiscal 2010 reached 3.006 billion litres, up from 2.608 billion in the year-earlier period.

Agropur’s additions to its product line during the year included an Allegro nine per cent light spreadable cream cheese, cheeses such as Nouvelle France, Rivière Rouge and washed-rind Rondoux, and WPC80, a “functional” product.

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