Canada’s Maple Leaf Foods profit beats estimates

Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods reported a quarterly profit that squeezed past estimates as lower operating costs and increased pricing more than offset a fall in volumes in its meat products business.

The company, whose brands include Schneiders and namesake Maple Leaf, recently completed a program started in 2010 to boost earnings by shutting some plants and modernizing others.

Adjusted operating earnings for the meat products segment rose to $62.9 million in the second quarter ended June 30, from $17.7 million a year earlier.

The company, which is one of Canada’s biggest pork processors, reported net earnings of $31.4 million, or 23 Canadian cents per share, compared with a loss of $7.5 million, or 5 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf earned 32 Canadian cents per share, one Canadian cent above analysts’ average estimate.

Maple Leaf, whose agribusiness unit supplies livestock to the meat products group, said total sales rose 4.1 per cent to $854.6 million.

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