Canadian dairy company Saputo has reported a 3.4% increase in fourth-quarter profits but missed analyst forecasts on its earnings in the last three months of its financial year.

Saputo yesterday (7 June) booked net earnings of C$102.5m (US$104.7m) for the three months to the end of March, up from C$99.1m a year earlier.

However, the result included a writedown of what Saputo called a "portfolio investment", which hit net earnings by C$11.6m, or C$0.06 a share.

Saputo's fourth-quarter earnings per share were C$0.55, which, according to TD Securities analyst Michael van Aelst was below the consensus forecast of C$0.56 a share. Van Aelst had predicted C$0.59 a share.

Saputo's fourth-quarter EBITDA was up 12.8% at C$175.5m thanks to higher EBITDA from its US dairy products business, which benefited from improved cheese prices. The better profits in the US offset lower EBITDA from Saputo's dairy products operations in Canada, Europe and Argentina and from its grocery products unit.

Revenue rose 7.4% to C$1.49bn due to the better cheese prices in the US and better volumes in Argentina.

Over the full year, Saputo's net earnings were up 17.9% at C$382.7m. Saputo said its EBITDA rose 14.2% to C$790.1m. Revenues climbed 3.7% to C$6.03bn.