Burnaby dairy plant Saputo milks pandemic for 17% profit jump

Milk does a body good.

It also good for profits because it’s something that has been in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dairy processor Saputo in Burnaby is reporting higher profits and lower revenues in its first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic upended consumer buying patterns.

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The company, which operates its plant on a 20-acre parcel of land at Lougheed Highway and Sperling, but has outlets across the country, says retail sales volumes increased, while revenues from food service and industrial segments declined last quarter as customers turned to home dining and away from restaurants.

Saputo says overall sales went up across the country — mainly in the fluid milk category — while sales dropped in the United States, which had an "impact on efficiency and absorption of fixed costs."

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 last year.

saputo dairy plant site
Properties next to the Sperling SkyTrain station (pictured below) in Burnaby are estimated to be worth nearly $400 million. The Saputo plant pictured below sold in 2018 and the property next to it is the subject of two lawsuits. Peterson Group photo

The Burnaby site is actually not staying in the city, as the land was sold for more than $200 million to developers. A new facility will be set up in Port Coquitlam.

Saputo reports revenues fell to $3.39 billion in the quarter ending June 30, down eight per cent from a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, earnings fell to 35 cents per share from 42 cents per share, beating analysts' expectations of 29 cents per share, according to financial data firm Refinitiv.

The board of directors has announced a half-cent increase in the quarterly dividend.

- With files from the Canadian Press

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