Maple Leaf Foods shares fall after Q1 profit down, sales improve from year ago

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. _ Shares in Maple Leaf Foods Inc. fell after the company reported a drop in its first-quarter profit compared with a year ago, hurt by weakness in its pork business.

Shares in the meat and food processor dropped more than 10 per cent in initial trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange before recovering some of the lost ground.

The shares were down $1.65 or about 5.43 per cent at $28.75 in early trading.

Before the start of trading Wednesday, Maple Leaf reported a profit of $27.9 million, or 22 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of $30.1 million, or 23 cents per share, a year ago.

Sales totalled $817.5 million, up from $811.2 million.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf says it earned 29 cents per share, down from 33 cents per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 34 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Maple Leaf says positive trends and performance in its underlying business were offset by market conditions in pork markets which were materially below a year ago.