09.05.12

SunOpta: First Quarter Results

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Toronto- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or "the Company") , a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods, today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. All amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars and results are reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, except where specifically noted.

For the first quarter of 2012, the Company reported quarterly revenues of $274.5 million versus revenues of $260.6 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011, a year over year increase of 5.4%. These revenues represent record first quarter revenues for the Company. Excluding the impact of changes including foreign exchange rates, commodity-related pricing, the impact of acquisitions and rationalized product lines, revenues increased approximately 7.0% on a consolidated basis. The increase in consolidated revenues in the first quarter was driven by strong growth in integrated packaged food product categories within SunOpta Foods and the steel products segment within Opta Minerals Inc. These increases were somewhat offset by the effect of product rationalizations in SunOpta Foods which in turn led to improved earnings, plus decreased volumes across certain ingredient categories.

Operating income1 for the first quarter of 2012 increased to $13.4 million or 4.9% of revenues versus $11.6 million or 4.5% of revenues in the prior year, a year over year increase of 15.8%. This increase was driven by improved operating income in both SunOpta Foods and Opta Minerals Inc. Within SunOpta Foods the Grains and Foods Group, Consumer Products Group and International Foods Group all realized improved operating income1 versus the prior year.

For the first quarter of 2012, the Company reported earnings per diluted common share from continuing operations of $0.09 or earnings of $6.1 million, as compared to $0.08 or earnings of $5.4 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011. After accounting for a loss from discontinued operations, earnings for the first quarter of 2012 were $5.9 million or $0.09 per diluted common share versus $5.1 million or $0.08 per diluted common share in the prior year. With the exception of the first quarter of 2005 when the Company realized a large one-time gain, these first quarter results are a record for the Company.

For the quarter ended March 31, 2012, the Company realized EBITDA1 of $18.3 million as compared to $16.4 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011.

At March 31, 2012, the Company's balance sheet reflects a current ratio of 1.38 to 1.00, long-term debt to equity ratio of 0.21 to 1.00 and total debt to equity ratio of 0.64 to 1.00. At March 31, 2012 the Company has total debt outstanding of $196.2 million, total assets of $669.3 million and a net book value of $4.66 per outstanding share. During the quarter the Company used cash from operating activities of $7.3 million versus $33.9 million in the prior year, indicative of ongoing efforts to leverage resources within the Company plus the impact of increased commodity costs realized in the first quarter of 2011.

Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta commented, "We are very pleased with our first quarter results as they reflect both continued growth in our core natural and organic foods categories, plus the positive impact of operational improvements which we have continued to implement. During the first quarter we took a number of steps to streamline our operations and organization structure and we are pleased with our results to date. We remain confident in our focus on natural and organic foods and our strategy to improve operating margins, earnings predictability and return on assets."

The Company plans to host a conference call at 10:00 A.M. Eastern Time on Wednesday May 9th, 2012 to discuss the results for the first quarter of 2012 and recent corporate developments. The conference call can be accessed via a link at the Company's website at www.sunopta.com. Additionally, the call may be accessed with the toll free dial-in number 1-877-312-9198 or 631-291-4622. A replay number can also be accessed between May 9th and 16th with the toll free dial-in number 1--855-859-2056 or 404-537-3406 followed by pass code: 73382554#.

1See discussion of non-GAAP measures

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods products. The company specializes in sourcing, processing and packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through packaged products; with a focus on strategically vertically integrated business models. The Company's core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit based product offerings, supported by a global infrastructure. The company has two non-core holdings, a 66.2% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc., listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials; and a minority ownership position in Mascoma Corporation, an innovative biofuels company.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3958

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our continued growth in our core natural and organic foods, the positive impact of operating improvements and our strategy to improve earnings predictability, operating margins and return on assets. The terms and phrases "continue", "improve", "remain confident", and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward looking statements. Forward looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this release and are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstances including, but not limited to, general economic conditions, consumer interest in health and wellness, product pricing levels, current customer demand, planned facility and operational expansions, competitive intensity, cost rationalization and product development initiatives. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, global economic conditions, consumer spending patterns and changes in market trends, decreases in customer demand, potential failure of product development, working capital management and continuous improvement initiatives, availability and pricing of raw materials and supplies, and other risks described from time to time under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov). Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.
SunOpta Inc.     
    
    
Consolidated Statements of Operations     
    
    
For the quarters ended March 31, 2012 and April 2, 2011     
    
    
Unaudited     
    
    
(Expressed in thousands of U.S. dollars, except per share amounts)     
    
    

    
    
    

    Quarter ended        March 31, 2012  Quarter ended    April 2, 2011     Change

    $     $     %

    
    
    
Revenues     274,542     260,589     5.4%

        
    
Cost of goods sold
237,204     225,055     5.4%

    
Gross profit    
37,338     35,534     5.1%
   
Selling, general and administrative expenses    
22,549     22,405     0.6%

Intangible asset amortization    
1,273     1,385     -8.1%

Other expense, net    
368     362     1.7%
Foreign exchange loss    
71     135     -47.4%

Earnings from continuing operations before the following
13,077     11,247     16.3%

        
    
Interest expense, net
2,583     1,984     30.2%

Earnings from continuing operations before income taxes
10,494     9,263     13.3%
   
Provision for income taxes
3,831     3,224     18.8%

        
    
Earnings from continuing operations    
6,663     6,039     10.3%
   
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes    
(224)     (291)     23.0%
        
Earnings    
6,439     5,748     12.0%
   
Earnings attributable to non-controlling interests    
547     667     -18.0%

            
Earnings attributable to SunOpta Inc.    
5,892     5,081     16.0%

Earnings per share -- basic         
    
-from continuing operations     0.09     0.08     
-from discontinued operations     --     --     

    0.09     0.08     

    
    
    
Earnings per share -- diluted     
    
    
-from continuing operations     0.09     0.08     
-from discontinued operations     --     --     

    0.09     0.08     

    
    
SunOpta Inc.     
    
Consolidated Balance Sheets     
    
As at March 31, 2012 and April 2, 2011     
    
Unaudited     
    
(Expressed in thousands of U.S. dollars, except per share amounts)     
    

    
    

    March 31, 2012     April 2, 2011

    $     $

    
    
ASSETS     
    

    
    
Current assets     
    
Cash and cash equivalents     3,729     2,378
Accounts receivable     113,221     94,177
Inventories     237,965     240,852
Prepaid expenses and other current assets     21,437     21,625
Current income taxes recoverable     1,501     1,503
Deferred income taxes     4,834     4,773

    382,687     365,308

        
Investments     33,845     33,845
Property, plant and equipment     126,066     120,734
Goodwill     57,276     49,387
Intangible assets     57,214     48,624
Deferred income taxes     10,875     11,751
Other assets     1,360     1,854

        

    669,323     631,503

        
LIABILITIES         

        
Current liabilities         
Bank indebtedness     130,368     109,718
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities     104,459     120,228
Customer and other deposits     6,225     843
Income taxes payable     2,067     1,229
Other current liabilities     1,181     1,419
Current portion of long-term debt     32,444     35,198
Current portion of long-term liabilities     890     995

    277,634     269,630

        
Long-term debt     33,383     17,066
Long-term liabilities     6,518     5,586
Deferred income taxes     28,597     24,273

    346,132     316,555

        

        
EQUITY         
SunOpta Inc. shareholders' equity         
Capital Stock     182,269     182,108
65,835,327 common shares (December 31, 2011 - 65,796,398)         
Additional paid in capital     14,718     14,134
Retained earnings     106,400     100,508
Accumulated other comprehensive income     3,376     2,382

    306,763     299,132
Non-controlling interest     16,428     15,816
Total equity     323,191     314,948

        

    669,323     631,503

    
    
SunOpta Inc.     
    
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows     
    
For the quarters ended March 31, 2012 and April 2, 2011     
    
Unaudited     
    
(Expressed in thousands of U.S. dollars, except per share amounts)     
    

    
    

    Quarter ended     Quarter ended March 31, 2012     April 2, 2011    $     $
    
    
Cash provided by (used in)     
   
Operating activities     
    
Earnings     6,439     5,748
Loss from discontinued operations     (224)     (291)
Earnings from continuing operations     6,663     6,039

        
Items not affecting cash         
Depreciation and amortization     4,853     4,833
Unrealized loss on foreign exchange     102     723
Deferred income taxes     2,331     1,476
Stock-based compensation     588     429
Unrealized loss (gain) on derivative instruments     682     (3,685)
Other     341     (389)
Changes in non-cash working capital, net of business acquired     (22,657)     (42,844)
Net cash flows from operations - continuing operations     (7,097)     (33,418)
Net cash flows from operations - discontinued operations     (161)     (485)

    (7,258)     (33,903)
Investing activities         
Acquisition of business     (17,530)     --
Purchases of property, plant and equipment     (4,932)     (3,909)
Purchases of patents, trademarks and other intangible assets     (25)     (81)
Other     (77)     --
Cash from investing activities - continuing operations     (22,564)     (3,990)

    
    
Financing activities         
Increase in line of credit facilities     19,008     42,551
Borrowings under long-term debt     19,088     37
Proceeds from the issuance of common shares     157     213
Repayment of long-term debt     (7,030)     (2,004)
Financing costs     (91)     (25)
Other     (3)     28
Cash from financing activities - continuing operations     31,129     40,800

        
Foreign exchange gain on cash held in a foreign currency     44     170

        
Increase in cash and cash equivalents during the period     1,351     3,077

        
Discontinued operations cash activity included above:         
Add: Balance included at beginning of period     --     308
Less: Balance included at end of period     --     (212)

        
Cash and cash equivalents - beginning of the period     2,378     2,335

        
Cash and cash equivalents - end of the period     3,729     5,508

    
    
SunOpta Inc.     
    
    
    
    
Segmented Information     
    
    
    
    
For the quarters ended March 31, 2012 and April 2, 2011     
    
    
    
Unaudited     
   
    
(Expressed in thousands of U.S. dollars)     
    
   
    
    Quarter ended    March 31, 2012

    
    SunOpta         Corporate     

    
    Foods     Opta Minerals     Services     Consolidated

    
    $     $     $     $
Total revenues from external customers     
    246,210     28,332     --     274,542
Segment Operating Income (Loss)     
    12,011     3,081     (1,647)     13,445

    
    
    
    
    
SunOpta Foods has the following segmented reporting:     
   
    Quarter ended March 31, 2012

    Grains and     Ingredients     Consumer Products     International     SunOpta

    Foods Group     Group     Group     Foods Group     Foods

    $     $     $     $     $
Total revenues from external customers     121,175     21,649     45,152     58,234     246,210
Segment Operating Income (Loss)     8,386     1,229     (175)     2,571     12,011


    
    
    
    
    Quarter ended

    
    
    
    
    April 2, 2011

    
    SunOpta     Corporate     

    
    Foods     Opta Minerals     Services     Consolidated

    
    $     $     $     $
Total revenues from external customers     
    238,983     21,606     --     260,589
Segment Operating Income (Loss)     
    11,044     2,451     (1,886)     11,609

    
    
    
    
    
SunOpta Foods has the following segmented reporting:     
    
    
    


    
    
    
    
    Quarter ended April 2, 2011
Grains and     Ingredients     Consumer Products     International     SunOpta

    Foods Group     Group     Group     Foods Group     Foods

    $     $     $     $     $
Total revenues from external customers     
115,267     25,936     35,944     61,836     238,983
Segment Operating Income     
6,288     2,966     (478)     2,268     11,044

    
(Operating Income (Loss) is defined as "Earnings from continuing operations before the following" excluding the impact of "Other expense, net".)

1Non-GAAP Measures

In addition to reporting financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), the Company provides information regarding Operating Income and Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") as additional information about its operating results, which are not measures in accordance with GAAP. The Company believes that these non-GAAP measures assist investors in comparing performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that are not indicative of the Company's core operating performance. The non-GAAP measures of operating income and EBITDA should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP.

The Company defines Operating Income as "Earnings from continuing operations before the following" excluding the impact of "Other expense, net"; and EBITDA as Operating Income plus depreciation and amortization. The following is a tabular presentation of Operating Income and EBITDA, including a reconciliation to GAAP earnings, which the Company believes to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure:

    Quarter ended     Quarter ended

    March 31, 2012     April 2, 2011

    $     $

    
    
Earnings from continuing operations     6,663     6,039

    
    
Provision for income taxes     3,831     3,224
Interest expense, net     2,583     1,984
Other expense, net     368     362
Operating income     13,445     11,609
Depreciation and amortization     4,853     4,833
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA)     18,298     16,442

Contact:

SunOpta Inc.
Steve Bromley, President & CEO
Tony Tavares, Vice President & COO
Robert McKeracher, Vice President & CFO
John Dietrich, VP Corporate Development & Secretary
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103
susan.wiekenkamp@sunopta.com
Website:  www.sunopta.com
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