Food processor Maple Leaf Foods has reported a fall in sales for the second quarter ended 30 June 2005 due to lower commodity prices in the company's pork, poultry, feed and rendering businesses.

Second quarter sales fell to C$1.666bn (US$1.354bn) compared with $1.689bn for the same period a year ago. Net earnings rose to $33m, compared with $25m a year ago.

Sales for the first six months of 2005 increased 13% to $3.2bn, due primarily to the acquisition of Schneider Foods in April 2004. This is the first quarter that Schneider Foods results are included in prior year comparatives.

"Our strong earnings performance in the second quarter benefited significantly from our balanced portfolio of bakery and protein value chain operations," said Michael McCain, president and CEO. "Our earnings from operations for the quarter increased 22% despite a major decline in industry wide fresh pork and poultry margins. Earnings from our fresh bakery, processed meats and hog production operations more than offset these underlying commodity influences and contributed to an excellent quarter. "