Sara Lee announced losses caused by one-off charges

Sara Lee announced losses caused by one-off charges

One-off charges relating to pensions and divested units pushed Sara Lee into a first quarter loss.

The company today (3 November) reported a net loss of US$215m for the six months compared with a profit of $194m a year earlier, primarily due to a one-time EUR60m (US$82.8m) payment to the Netherlands pension plan, increased working capital due to higher commodity costs, and a significant decline in the cash generated by discontinued operations.

Adjusted operating income rose 4.1% to $182m and sales rose to $1.94bn from $1.73bn a year earlier. The company also cut its full-year sales forecast to $7.9bn to $8.15bn from an August forecast of $8.5bn to $8.75bn, partly because of unfavourable currency exchange rates.

In January, Sara Lee announced the company would split into two - a North American grocery retail and foodservice business and an international beverage maker, and has sold and bought numerous companies and units over the last year.

"We are moving forward aggressively", said Sara Lee executive chairman, Jan Bennink said.

"Within the past month we have closed the sale of North American refrigerated dough to Ralcorp and announced the sale of Spanish bakery to Grupo Bimbo.

"Meanwhile, we are increasing our investment in the future, with strong support behind core brands and new product development. The solid performance of our base business and our exciting pipeline of innovation give me great confidence that both companies are positioned for successful futures."