2014

Lassonde Industries Inc. announces its results for the fourth quarter and fiscal 2012

ROUGEMONT, QC, March 28, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Lassonde Industries Inc. (TSX: LAS.A) (Lassonde) posted sales of $1,022.2 million in fiscal 2012, a 34.5% increase year over year. Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders totalled $43.9 million, up $9.4 million from fiscal 2011.

Financial Highlights
(in thousands of dollars)
Fourth quarters ended
December 31
Years ended
December 31
  2012   2011   2012   2011  
Sales $277,325   $269,552   $1,022,218   $760,258  
Operating profit 29,115   24,934   85,516   60,347  
Profit before income taxes 22,512   17,253   58,512   46,386  
Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders 17,525   13,157   43,946   34,471  
Basic and diluted earnings per share (in $) $2.51   $1.91   $6.29   $5.12  

Note: These are financial highlights only. Management's Discussion and Analysis, the audited consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the year ended December 31, 2012 will be available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com and on the website of Lassonde Industries Inc.

"Despite heightened competition and lower sales volumes in the fruit juices and drinks industry, we are pleased to be presenting solid growth in our results. We are continuing to prioritize repayment of the Clement Pappas debt, which has decreased by US$41.9 million between the acquisition date and December 31, 2012," said Pierre-Paul Lassonde, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc.

2012 Financial Results
The Company's sales amounted to $1,022.2 million in 2012, up $261.9 million (34.5%) from $760.3 million in 2011. Clement Pappas and Company, Inc. (CPC) generated $417.1 million in sales in 2012. CPC's sales had totalled $178.6 million for the period of August 13, 2011 (the date when CPC began operating under the Company's control) to December 31, 2011. Excluding CPC's sales, the Company's sales were up $23.4 million (4.0%) from 2011. This sales growth came mainly from greater sales of the Company's national brands, a favourable sales mix, and price increases introduced in response to higher raw material costs. The favourable impact of these factors was mitigated by lower sales volumes of private labels and a significant increase in trade spending.

The Company's operating profit for the year ended December 31, 2012 totalled $85.5 million, up $25.2 million from last year. CPC's operating profit was $34.4 million during 2012. For the period of August 13, 2011 to December 31, 2011, CPC had operating profit of $10.6 million, but this amount included $6.4 million in acquisition-related costs. Excluding the impact of the CPC acquisition, the 2012 operating profit increased by $1.4 million (2.7%) from 2011. It should be noted that, during the second quarter of 2012, the Company realized a $1.5 million gain on the sale of a facility and land located in Ruthven, Ontario.

The Company's financial expenses rose from $13.9 million in 2011 to $24.1 million in 2012. This $10.2 million increase was largely attributable to the financings related to the CPC acquisition. "Other (gains) losses" went from a loss of less than $0.1 million in 2011 to a $2.9 million loss in 2012. The 2012 loss came primarily from $2.6 million in losses resulting from a change in the fair value of interest rate swaps related to CPC's debt.

Profit before income taxes totalled $58.5 million in 2012, up $12.1 million from $46.4 million in 2011.

An income tax expense at an effective rate of 23.0% (25.4% in 2011) brought the 2012 profit to $45.0 million, up $10.4 million from $34.6 million in 2011. Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders totalled $43.9 million for basic and diluted earnings per share of $6.29 for 2012. In 2011, profit attributable to the Company's shareholders stood at $34.5 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $5.12. It should be noted that, for 2012, CPC's profit added $7.9 million to the profit attributable to the Company's shareholders, whereas in 2011, CPC's profit together with all of the acquisition-related transactions (including an exchange gain on U.S. cash and cash equivalents) had added approximately $0.1 million to the profit attributable to the Company's shareholders.

Fourth Quarter Financial Results
Fourth-quarter sales totalled $277.3 million versus $269.6 million last year, a year-over-year increase of $7.7 million (2.9%). This increase is explained by the combined impact of the following factors: (i) an increase in sales of private label products; (ii) price increases that had a favourable impact on sales of national brands; (iii) an increase in the sales volumes of national brands; (iv) a decrease in slotting fees; (v) an unfavourable exchange impact; and (vi) a different sales mix that contributed to a decrease in sales.

Cost of sales went from $195.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $195.7 million in the same quarter of 2012, down $0.2 million (0.1%). This decrease, when compared to a 2.9% increase in sales, reflects the combined impact of the following factors: (i) a decrease in the cost of certain concentrates and (ii) a lower exchange rate on purchases paid in U.S. dollars.

Selling and administrative expenses went from $48.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $52.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up $3.6 million (7.5%). This increase is larger than the increase in sales and is explained by higher transportation costs arising from greater volumes and by certain operational adjustments resulting from the CPC acquisition.

The Company's operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2012 totalled $29.1 million, up $4.2 million from operating profit of $24.9 million in the same quarter of 2011.

The Company's financial expenses went from $7.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. This $0.5 million decrease was mainly related to long-term debt repayments that resulted in a lower interest expense. "Other (gains) losses" went from a $0.5 million loss in the fourth quarter of 2011 to a $0.1 million gain in the fourth quarter of 2012. The loss in 2011 stems mainly from $0.4 million in losses resulting from a change in the fair value of interest rate swaps related to CPC's long-term borrowing.

Profit before income taxes totalled $22.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, up $5.2 million from $17.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Income tax expense went from $3.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 to $4.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. The effective income tax rate of 20.4% for the fourth quarter of 2012 was lower than the rate of 21.8% for the same period of 2011. This decrease in tax rate reflects end-of-year adjustments attributable to the geographical mix of statutory tax rates.

Profit for the fourth quarter of 2012 totalled $17.9 million, up $4.4 million from profit of $13.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders totalled $17.5 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $2.51 for the fourth quarter of 2012. It compares to $13.2 million in profit attributable to the Company's shareholders for basic and diluted earnings per share of $1.91 for the same period of 2011.

Outlook
Market data indicates that sales volumes of North American fruit juice and fruit drink producers declined in 2012. This downward trend was stronger in the first months of the year, while the Company has observed greater stability in industry volumes in recent months. In Canada, intense competition facing the Company's national brands is putting sustained pressure on trade spending. The Company is responding to the changing competitive landscape and improving the strategic market positioning of its national brands through innovation.

Lassonde Industries Inc. plans on maintaining its business model and management approach for the coming year. The Company will continue to monitor business opportunities that may improve its competitive positioning. Barring any major external shocks, the Company remains optimistic about its ability to slightly increase its consolidated sales in 2013 compared to 2012. Sales growth is expected to come from both the Canadian entities and from CPC.

About Lassonde Industries Inc.
Lassonde Industries Inc. is a North American leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a wide range of fruit and vegetable juices and drinks marketed under brands such as Everfresh, Fairlee, Flavür, Fruité, Graves, Oasis and Rougemont.

Lassonde is also the second largest producer of store brand ready-to-drink fruit juices and drinks in the United States and a major producer of cranberry juices, drinks and sauces.

Lassonde also develops, manufactures and markets specialty food products under brands such as Antico and Canton. The Company imports and markets selected wines from various countries and manufactures apple ciders and wine-based beverages.

The Company produces superior quality products through the efforts of some 2,000 people working in 14 plants across Canada and the United States. To learn more, visit www.lassonde.com.

SEDAR registration number: 00002099

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on certain assumptions. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from current expectations. Additional factors are discussed in materials filed from time to time with the securities regulatory authorities in Canada. Lassonde Industries Inc. disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements except as required by law. 

SOURCE Lassonde Industries Inc.




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