The third-quarter profits generated by Canadian food manufacturer Maple Leaf Foods were almost all swallowed up by restructuring costs, a strike by employees and sluggish pork prices.

Earnings for the period ended 30 September amounted to just C$299,000 (US$228,700), or a loss of one cent a share, compared with $19.3m, or a gain of 16 cents per share, a year earlier, Maple Leaf reported yesterday [Wednesday]. This came on turnover down slightly to $1.25bn from $1.27bn, reported the Canadian Press.

Pork prices have been low across the whole industry during the period under review as a result of an oversupply of meat proteins from North America, exacerbated by a weak pork market in Japan, which accounts for some 8% of Maple Leaf Foods' sales.

CEO Michael McCain said the company was working hard to develop its US business and believes the first signs of improvement are already evident.

Maple Leaf is about to buy rival meatpacker Schneider Corp., subject to the approval of competition authorities.