Charges hit Maple Leafs top and bottom line

Charges hit Maple Leaf's top and bottom line

Canadian food group Maple Leaf Foods has booked a 47% drop in first-quarter profits, which were dented by restructuring costs and lower sales after recent disposals.

The company said that, for the three months to 31 March, profits dropped to C$10.5m (US$11m), compared with C$19.9m last year. This includes restructuring charges of C$26.1m as the group looks to progress with the revamp it announced last year.

Divestitures and the strong Canadian dollar meant that sales dipped 4% during the quarter, falling to C$1.15bn.

Maple Leaf's meat products business booked a 7% drop in sales, primarily due to the sale of the company's Burlington pork processing business. In bakery, Maple Leaf saw sales dip 2% following the sale of its fresh sandwich unit in February. However, the group's agribusiness unit saw sales surge 37% on higher pricing and volumes.

"While the most significant challenge has been rising raw material costs, we are passing on price increases to protect our margins. Overall, this was another strong quarter of performance," Michael McCain, chief executive with Maple Leaf, said.