Maple Leaf sees higher profits

(Reuters) — Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, driven by increased retail sales in Canada and higher exports.

The company, whose brands include Schneiders and namesake Maple Leaf, said adjusted operating earnings rose 10 percent to $59 million in the first quarter, which ended March 31.

Maple Leaf, which is Canada’s biggest pork processor, is on a hunt for acquisitions in the United States after years spent upgrading old factories and shedding business lines.

In February, the company bought U.S.-based Lightlife Foods Inc, a manufacturer of plant-based protein foods, for $140 million, Maple Leaf’s first material deal since 2004.

The company said its net earnings fell 28.8 percent to $30.1 million, or 22 cents per share, from a year earlier, hurt by restructuring charges.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf earned 33 cents per share, beating analysts’ average estimate by three cents.

The company’s sales rose 1.8 percent to $811.2 million.

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