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Dairy giant in Burnaby part of staggering $124M drop in profits

Company was seeing big profit jumps amid COVID-19
saputo milk best
Saputo has seen sales surge during the pandemic.

A dairy giant that has operated a huge plant in North Burnaby for decades is seeing its ability to milk COVID-19 eating habits for more profit decline.

Saputo Inc., which operates its plant on a 20-acre parcel of land at Lougheed Highway and Sperling, but has outlets across the country, reported its third-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago as it said it confronted challenging market conditions.

The dairy company says it faced labour shortages, supply chain disruptions and inflationary pressures.

Saputo reported a profit $86 million or 21 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of $210 million or 51 cents per diluted a year earlier.

In August 2020, the company reported that its net profit climbed 16.9 per cent year over year to $141.9 million, while earnings per share hit 35 cents compared to 31 cents in the first quarter of 2019.

Revenue totalled $3.90 billion for the 2021 quarter, up from $3.76 billion in the same quarter a year earlier.

The company says the increase was due to higher international cheese and dairy ingredient market prices and higher domestic selling prices.

"It’s clear we're still facing considerable headwinds," Lino Saputo Jr., board chair and CEO of the Montreal-based dairy processor, said during a conference call with analysts in November 2021. 

"We continue to feel the lingering disruptions of the pandemic and with economies reopening, we're particularly challenged with access to labour, supply chain difficulties and inflationary pressures." 

Saputo says its adjusted net earnings per share excluding amortization of intangible assets related to business acquisitions amounted to 33 cents per diluted share for the quarter, down from 55 cents per diluted share.

Saputo has big changes planned for the Burnaby plant after selling it and the land for more than $200 million. It plans on moving the plant out of Burnaby at some point. A developer has purchased the property.

  • With reporting by the Canadian Press

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