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August 10, 2016updated 10 Apr 2021 5:43pm

SunOpta claims “good progress” despite losses

SunOpta, the Canada-based ingredients supplier, private-label group and contract manufacturer, today (10 August) claimed "good progress" was being made on its goals for 2016, despite the company reporting second-quarter and half-year losses.

By Dean Best

SunOpta, the Canada-based ingredients supplier, private-label group and contract manufacturer, today (10 August) claimed “good progress” was being made on its goals for 2016, despite the company reporting second-quarter and half-year losses.

The company reported a loss from continuing operations of US$4.1m for the second quarter to 2 July, compared to earnings from continuing operations of $4.8m in the corresponding period last year.

During the quarter, SunOpta recognized charges and a gain not reflective of normal operations, including US$9.7m of legal settlement costs fees, $7.9m of costs associated with last year’s acquisition of US frozen fruit supplier Sunrise Growers and $500,000 in costs associated with a product recall.

Stripping out all the one-off items, SunOpta announced second-quarter “adjusted earnings” of $4.1m, versus $5.4m in the second quarter of 2015.

“We faced some unanticipated challenges during the second quarter, including the recall of certain sunflower products and temporary supply issues in frozen fruit that impacted our financial results,” SunOpta president and CEO Rik Jacobs said. “These specific challenges masked good progress against our 2016 operational goals, including strong aseptic volume growth, new business wins, considerable innovation success and continued robust demand in our international sourcing operations.”

SunOpta generated a loss from continuing operations of US$13.8m for the first half of its financial year, against earnings of $10.8m during the first half of 2015. Adjusted earnings were $6.8m, compared with $11.8m for the first half of 2015.

The company booked a 25.4% increase in revenues for its second quarter, hitting $348.1m, boosted by acquisitions. Excluding the impact of acquired businesses, the estimated impact of the sunflower kernel recall and changes in commodity-related pricing and foreign exchange rates, revenues increased 0.3%. SunOpta pointed to higher demand for organic ingredients and growth in aseptic beverage volumes. However, SunOpta said those factors were offset by lower volumes of “speciality” raw materials driven by a reduction in contracted acres, as well as the negative impact on sales of frozen fruit due to crop shortages after a late strawberry harvest and softness in retail demand.

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