Saputo posts bigger profit, hikes dividend

Reuters –– Saputo Inc., Canada’s largest dairy producer, reported higher quarterly earnings on Tuesday, lifted by recent acquisitions.

The Montreal-based company also increased its quarterly dividend by 13 per cent to 26 cents from 23 and announced a two-for-one stock split.

For Saputo’s first quarter through June 30, net income rose to $145.3 million, or 73 cents a share, from $136.7 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier.

Revenue during the quarter jumped nearly 21 per cent to $2.6 billion, bolstered by Saputo’s February acquisition of a majority control of Australia’s Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd.

The company, known for its Dairyland milk and 1/2 Moon cakes, said its April purchase of the Atlantic Canada fluid-milk business of Scotsburn Co-operative Services also lifted revenues and earnings.

Analysts had expected Saputo to earn 77 cents a share on revenue of $2.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

— Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg.

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