• Maple Leaf reports Q3 net profit vs year-ago net loss
  • Adjusted operating earnings up 17%
  • Sales down but increased when excluding disposals and currency

Shares in Canadian food maker Maple Leaf Foods closed up over 3% yesterday (27 October) after the company reported improved third-quarter profits.

Maple Leaf booked net earnings of C$43m (US$43.4m) for the three months to 30 September, compared to a loss of C$19.9m last year, when its bottom line was hit by restructuring costs and a charge from interest-rate swaps.

The company posted adjusted operating earnings, which excluded factors including restructuring costs, the impact of interest-rate swaps and commodity futures contracts, of C$73.3m, up 17% on the year.

Earnings across three of Maple Leaf's four divisions increased, although profits from its bakery arm dipped. Sales from the business increased but Maple Leaf said it had not been able to fully pass on the increasing cost of raw materials.

The only Maple Leaf division not to see higher sales was its meat products group unit but the company said the top-line performance of that division was affected by last year's sale of a pork processing plant in Ontario.

Maple Leaf said its total sales fell 2% to C$1.26bn but said they increased 6% when disposals and the impact of the Canadian dollar were not included in the results.

President and CEO Michael McCain was upbeat about the company's third-quarter results. "Our third quarter reflects strong earnings growth in our protein business, and we are particularly pleased with the performance of our consumer-facing prepared meats operations," he said. 

Shares in Maple Leaf closed up 3.7% at C$11.22 on the Toronto stock exchange.

Click here for the full results statement from Maple Leaf.