Canadian food company Maple Leaf Foods has reported a lower quarterly net profit due to surplus of beef, pork and poultry products on the North American market.

For the first quarter to 31 March, Maple Leaf reported a net profit of C$6.0m (US$4.22), or 4 cents a share, compared with $16.9m, or 14 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts polled by Multex had forecast on average profit of 14 cents per hsare, reported Reuters.

Maple Leaf posted sales of $1.3bn for the quarter, compared with $1.2bn in the year-ago period. Meat sales slid slightly in the quarter, while food and bakery revenues rose.

“I fully expect that when these (commodity) markets correct themselves, as they always have, that we are well positioned to drive profitable growth,” Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer, was quoted by Reuters as saying.

The company also said it had increased its stake in Canada Bread to 73.3% from 68.3% through the purchase of 4 million common shares for $26.50 per share.