Canadian food processor Maple Leaf Foods has reported a sharp rise in quarterly earnings and said it was successfully integrating Schneider Foods into its operations.

The company reports net earnings of C$27.9m (US$22.8m), or 24 cents per share, for the third quarter to 30 September, compared to $7.2m, or 5 cents per share, before restructuring costs of $6.9m, in the third quarter of the previous year.

Sales for the third quarter increased to $1.7bn from $1.3bn last year, due primarily to the inclusion of results from Schneider Foods, which was acquired on 5 April 2004, and high protein demand and prices. Excluding Schneider Foods, sales increased 8% in the third quarter.

"Our third quarter results demonstrate continued strong momentum in our earnings performance," said Michael McCain, president and chief executive officer. "Our operating income more than doubled in the third quarter, and our net income increased over three fold. We are pleased with the progress in every aspect of our operations, including the contribution of Schneider Foods. We are maintaining a disciplined focus on earnings growth and successfully integrating the Schneider Foods organisation into Maple Leaf."