MAPLE LEAF FOR­EVER

National Post (Latest Edition) - Financial Post Magazine - - COMMENT -

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. has turned a profit only twice in its past nine quar­ters as it fin­ishes off a seven-year, $1-bil­lion re­struc­tur­ing that has closed nine plants while open­ing new ones, sold di­vi­sions such as its Canada Bread bak­ery and a pasta maker, and cut 1,500 low-skilled jobs. As a re­sult, the maker of meats such as Shopsy’s, Schneiders and its well-known epony­mous brand dropped 42 spots to No. 140, the sec­ond-big­gest tum­ble out of the top 100. The fall is de­spite a 6.9% in­crease in rev­enue to al­most $3.2 bil­lion, which per­haps shows the strength of the big­gest com­pa­nies in Canada more than any­thing else.

On the other hand, its in­vestors are prob­a­bly pretty happy with how things are turn­ing out. Maple Leaf Foods stock has risen 184.8% since March 2009, in­clud­ing a 22.5% in­crease in 2015 through May 4. Things could get even bet­ter since the world’s ap­petite for pro­tein is only ex­pected to in­crease as mid­dle-class con­sumers grow in emerg­ing mar­kets. And if ba­con re­ally is your thing, the com­pany was look­ing for you in May as it launched a public na­tion­wide search for a new mar­ket­ing manager for its ba­con di­vi­sion. The job of­fers a com­pet­i­tive salary and benefits pack­age that in­cludes a free pack­age of ba­con ev­ery week.

The big­gest drop on the FP500 was by Har­vest Op­er­a­tions Corp., the Canadian sub­sidiary of Korea Na­tional Oil Co., which fell 266 spots to No. 348. Other big drop­pers in­cluded long-term health-care provider Ex­ten­di­care Inc. (174 spots to No. 365), waste han­dler Ne­walta Corp. (106 spots to No. 469), and pub­lisher TorStar Corp. and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal maker Ab­bott Lab­o­ra­to­ries Ltd., both of which dropped 90 spots to No. 357 and No. 458, re­spec­tively.

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