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MISSISSAUGA, ONT.—Maple Leaf Foods (TSX:MFI) said on Wednesday its net income more than doubled in the fourth quarter and that it will allow its largest shareholder hold a larger stake in the company.
Sales were $ 828.2 million, down 5.1 per cent from $ 873.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. However, the company noted that 2015 had an extra week and sales were up 2.0 per cent year-over-year when it’s excluded.
Adjusted operating earnings were up less dramatically than net income — rising 33.3 per cent to $ 63.7 million from $ 47.8 million. Adjusted earnings per share was 31 cents, up from 25 cents per share.
RBC Dominion Securities analyst Irene Nattel said Maple Leaf had delivered a “solid” quarter, demonstrated its ability to improve margins, and increased its dividend by two cents to 11 cents per share, payable March 31.
Maple Leaf also announced a revised governance agreement with McCain Capital, which includes Maple Leaf chief executive Michael McCain, allowing its largest shareholder to increase its stake to 45 per cent of the company. A 2011 agreement had limited the group’s ownership to 31.9 per cent.
Maple Leaf announced Tuesday that it will acquire an American company that makes plant-based protein foods for US$ 140 million and any related costs.
Lightlife Foods Inc. of Turners Falls, Mass. makes vegetarian deli meats and other meatless foods.