12.11.14

SunOpta: Q3 Results

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TORONTO - SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or "the Company") (STKL) (SOY.TO), a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods, announced financial results for the third quarter ended October 4, 2014. All amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars and results are reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, except where specifically noted.

Third Quarter 2014 Highlights

    Revenues of $318.5 million, an increase of 10.1% on a consolidated basis, and 11.0% within SunOpta Foods, after excluding the impact of changes including commodity prices, foreign exchange rates and the impact of downtime due to aseptic facility expansions.
    Operating income(1) of $12.7 million, or 4.0% of revenues, an increase of 29% versus prior year.
    EBITDA(1) of $18.7 million, or 5.9% of revenues, an increase of 22% versus prior year.
    Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1) of $8.0 million, or $0.12 per diluted common share, versus $4.8 million or $0.07 per diluted common share in the prior year.
    Cash provided by operations of $18.0 million.
    Net debt of $143.3 million, the lowest level since December 2010.

(All comparisons above are to the quarter ended September 28, 2013)

"We remained focused on our core strategies during the quarter and continued to realize the benefits of our operational realignment and re-positioned go-to-market strategy. Our results reflect strong demand for healthy foods products combined with our continued investment in our core business as we position SunOpta for long-term growth," commented Steve Bromley, Chief Executive Officer, SunOpta Inc.

Year-to-date 2014 Highlights

    Record revenues of $990.4 million, an increase of 11.4% on a consolidated basis, and 13.3% within SunOpta Foods, after excluding the impact of changes including commodity prices, foreign exchange rates and the impact of downtime due to aseptic facility expansions.
    Operating income(1) of $41.5 million, or 4.2% of revenues, an increase of 23% versus prior year.
    EBITDA(1) of $59.3 million, or 6.0% of revenues, an increase of 18% versus prior year.
    Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1) of $22.8 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share, versus $17.1 million or $0.25 per diluted common share in the prior year.
    Cash provided by operations of $38.6 million.

(All comparisons above are to the three quarters ended September 28, 2013)

Mr. Bromley continued, "We continue to focus on our core foods business, and believe that our integrated natural and organic foods platform is well positioned to capitalize on opportunities from an increasing global awareness of healthy eating. Consistent with our strategies to exit our non-core investments, Mascoma Corporation sold its yeast business on October 31, 2014 and our evaluation of strategic options for Opta Minerals is ongoing."

Third Quarter 2014 Results

Revenues increased 5.2% to $318.5 million compared to $302.7 million in the third quarter of 2013. Excluding the impact of changes including commodity prices, foreign exchange rates, and downtime due to facility expansions, consolidated revenues increased 10.1% and SunOpta Foods revenues increased 11.0% versus the prior year. All core foods operating segments realized increased revenues versus the prior year. The increase in revenues was led by stronger demand for organic ingredients in the U.S. and Europe; growth in consumer packaged categories including aseptic beverage products and retail frozen foods; and increased value-added fruit ingredient volumes. This growth more than offset lower priced volumes of specialty grain products.

Operating income(1) was $12.7 million, or 4.0% of revenues, compared to $9.8 million, or 3.2% of revenues in the third quarter of 2013. SunOpta Foods operating income, including corporate services, was $11.8 million, or 4.2% of revenues, compared to $8.1 million, or 3.0% of revenues in the prior year, an increase of 45%. The growth in operating income was driven by increased volume and margins on organic raw materials, improved performance in the Company's sunflower operations, and increased contribution from higher margin aseptic beverage and frozen private-label retail products. These positive factors were partially offset by lower margins on specialty corn sales, increased competitive pressures in the re-sealable pouch market and lower plant utilization in the Company's premium juice operation during the retrofit of this facility. Pricing pressures on certain steel and industrial mineral products in Opta Minerals, and beverage facility expansion costs within the Consumer Products Group negatively impacted operating income in the quarter.

The Company realized Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1) in the third quarter of $8.0 million, or $0.12 per diluted common share, excluding a non-cash impairment charge on its investment in Mascoma. Including this impairment charge, the Company realized a loss from continuing operations for the third quarter of 2014 of $0.4 million, or $0.01 per common share, compared to earnings of $2.9 million, or $0.04 per diluted common share, during the third quarter of 2013.

Included in the results for the third quarter of 2014 is a non-cash charge of approximately $8.4 million after tax, or $0.12 per diluted common share, representing a write-down of the carrying value of SunOpta's non-core investment in Mascoma Corporation. On October 31, 2014, Mascoma sold assets related to its bioengineered yeast business, in exchange for cash and certain royalty rights based on future revenues generated by the purchaser. After assessing the fair value of the remaining assets of the business, including the potential value of the royalty stream, the Company determined that its investment in Mascoma was impaired. SunOpta's investment in Mascoma was originally established in the third quarter of 2010 following the sale of SunOpta BioProcess Inc. in return for a minority equity stake in Mascoma. At that time, a non-cash gain on sale was recognized and Adjusted earnings were reported to exclude the effect of the gain.

The third quarter also included approximately $2.0 million in costs in the consumer products segment associated with beverage facility expansions and the retrofit of the Company's premium juice operation, as well as a gain of approximately $0.9 million related to a tax recovery recorded by Opta Minerals.

Included in the results for the third quarter of 2013 was a non-cash goodwill impairment charge for $3.6 million as well as other asset impairments and restructuring costs for $0.8 million (in aggregate $1.9 million net of tax and minority interest) related mainly to Opta Minerals, or $0.03 per diluted common share. Excluding these charges, Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1) for the third quarter of 2013 were $4.8 million or $0.07 per diluted common share.

EBITDA(1) was $18.7 million in the third quarter of 2014, compared to $15.3 million in the prior year, an increase of 22%.

Year-to-date 2014 Results

Revenues increased 10.4% to a record $990.4 million for the first three quarters of 2014, compared to $896.7 million in the first three quarters of 2013. The increase in consolidated revenues was driven by strong demand for internationally sourced organic raw materials, continued growth in consumer packaged categories including aseptic beverages, frozen foods, and re-sealable pouch products, as well as new value-added ingredient business. This growth more than offset lower commodity grain sales and declines within Opta Minerals Inc. Fiscal 2014 is a 53-week year, and the extra week fell in the first quarter, resulting in a 40-week period for the first three quarters of 2014, versus 39 weeks for the first three quarters of 2013. Excluding the extra week of sales, as well as the impact of changes including commodity prices, foreign exchange rates and downtime due to facility expansions, revenues in SunOpta Foods increased 13.3% versus the prior year and consolidated revenues increased 11.4%.

Operating income(1) for the first three quarters of 2014 was $41.5 million, or 4.2% of revenues, compared to $33.8 million, or 3.8% of revenues in the first three quarters of 2013. The improved operating earnings were driven by increased volume and margins on organic raw materials, improved performance in the sunflower category, and increased volume of consumer products including aseptic beverages and frozen foods, offset by margin pressure experienced in Opta Minerals, increased costs and competitive pressures in the re-sealable pouch market and increased costs associated with the retrofit of the Company's premium juice operation. SunOpta Foods' operating income, including Corporate Services, was $38.0 million, or 4.3% of revenues, compared to $28.7 million or 3.6% of revenues in the prior year.

Adjusted earnings from continuing operations(1) for the first three quarters of 2014 were $22.8 million, or $0.33 per diluted common share, excluding the impact of the non-cash impairment charge and other income. Including these items, earnings from continuing operations for the first three quarters of 2014 were $15.0 million, or $0.22 per diluted common share, compared to a loss of $6.9 million, or $0.10 per common share, during the first three quarters of 2013. Included in the results for the first three quarters of 2014 was the non-cash charge of approximately $8.4 million after tax, or $0.12 per diluted common share, reflecting the write-down of the Company's investment in Mascoma, as well as $0.6 million of after tax income, relating to gains on sales of assets net of severance and other asset write-downs.

The loss incurred in the first three quarters of 2013 was due mainly to a $21.5 million non-cash impairment of the Company's investment in Mascoma recognized in the prior year, as well as the $3.6 million goodwill impairment and $1.8 million in asset write-downs and restructuring charges (in aggregate $24.0 million net of tax and minority interest). Excluding these charges and the impact of discontinued operations, Adjusted earnings from continuing operations1 for the first three quarters of 2013 were $17.1 million or $0.25 per diluted common share.

EBITDA(1) was $59.3 million in the first three quarters of 2014, compared to $50.2 million in the prior year, an increase of 18%.

Balance Sheet

The Company's balance sheet remains strong and at October 4, 2014 reflected a net debt to equity ratio of 0.42 to 1.00. Cash provided by operations was $18.0 million during the third quarter and $38.6 million for the first three quarters of 2014, reflecting improved earnings and working capital efficiency. At October 4, 2014, the Company had total debt outstanding of $150.8 million, net debt of $143.3 million, total assets of $677.5 million, shareholders' equity of $342.1 million and a net book value of $5.10 per outstanding share.

 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 66.0% 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.

contact:
SunOpta Inc.
www.sunopta.com
Investor Relations
Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer
Tel: 905-455-2528, ext.103
Susan.wiekenkamp@sunopta.com
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