Saputo looking to drive bakery sales in US

Saputo looking to drive bakery sales in US

Saputo's bakery business is "not for sale", the Canadian dairy giant's chief executive has insisted after a writedown on the value of the division led to a fall in the company's annual profits.

A C$125m (US$122.2m) charge was recorded on Saputo's grocery products division, which sells products including cakes, cereal bars and pies. Saputo said the writedown reflected "stagnating growth in market-wide snack cake sales".

It led group net earnings to tumble 15.4% to C$380.8m for the 12 months to the end of March.

The division accounts for only 2% of Saputo's turnover and, over the financial year, revenue from the unit fell 5.2%, although EBITDA inched up 0.8%.

Speaking to analysts on Tuesday (5 June) after Saputo's annual results were published, CEO and vice chairman Lino Saputo Jr said the company was eyeing an increase in sales from the division in the US in the next 12 months.

"At this stage, bakery is part of Saputo's entities. There have been some incredible initiatives over the course of the last two to three years that have allowed that division to at least keep its head above water. There are initiatives for this fiscal year that will allow us to penetrate the US market and drive more volumes through that division. For the time being, our focus is to continue to improve that division and it's not for sale," he said.