UPDATE 1-Canadian meat processor Maple Leaf Foods swings to profit

jueves 29 de octubre de 2015 08:06 GYT

(Adds details, background)

Oct 29 (Reuters) - Maple Leaf Foods Inc, one of Canada's biggest pork processors, swung to a profit in the third quarter as the company nears the end of its restructuring plan.

Restructuring costs fell about 76 percent to C$3.4 million ($2.57 million) in the third quarter.

The company rolled out a program in 2010 to boost earnings by shutting some plants and modernizing others.

"We are making meaningful progress on eliminating inefficiencies driven by the ramp-up of our new facilities, though not at the pace we had hoped for," said Michael McCain, President and chief executive officer of the company.

Meat processors around the world were rocked earlier this week by a World Health Organization (WHO) report that said eating processed meats could cause colorectal cancer in humans.

The Canadian Meat Council, which represents meat packers such as Maple Leaf and the Canadian units of Cargill Ltd and JBS SA, rejected the findings as simplistic.

Maple Leaf's net sales fell slightly to C$818.8 million from C$820.1 million in the third quarter, hurt mainly by the agri-business group, which includes Canadian hog production operations.

Sales in the meat products unit, which includes products sold under brands such as Maple Leaf and Schneiders, fell marginally to C$814.8 million in the quarter.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned 16 Canadian cents per share.

The company's net earnings were C$18.7 million ($14.15 million), or 13 Canadian cents per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with net loss of C$26.7 million, or 19 Canadian cents per share, a year earlier. ($1 = 1.3219 Canadian dollars) (Reporting by Tanvi Mehta in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)