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The dairy giant has announced a corporate shakeup, but Lino Saputo Jr. will remain CEO and vice-chairman. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters/Christinne Muschi / Reuters)
The dairy giant has announced a corporate shakeup, but Lino Saputo Jr. will remain CEO and vice-chairman. (Christinne Muschi / Reuters/Christinne Muschi / Reuters)

Saputo's profits increase 16 per cent on higher sales Add to ...

Canadian cheese and dairy giant Saputo Inc. saw its profits increase by nearly 16 per cent to $129.8-million in its latest quarter.

The Montreal-based company reported Tuesday it earned 64 cents a share for the period ended Dec. 31, its fiscal 2012 third quarter.

That compares with 54 cents a year earlier when profits totalled $112.1-million.

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The multinational company operates in Canada, the United States, Germany and Argentina, It produces milk, cheese, yogurt and snack cakes under well-known consumer brands such as Saputo, Armstrong, Baxter, Dairyland, Dragone, Frigo, Nutrilait, Neilson, Stella and Vachon.

In its financial report, Saputo said revenues grew 17 per cent to $1.8-billion, up from $1.53 billion in the year-ago period.

Saputo was expected to report 63 cents per diluted share in earnings on $1.75-billion of revenues during the third quarter, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Sales were up mainly due to the inclusion of revenues from the U.S. acquisition of DCI, higher average block market per pound of cheese, increased sales volumes and a more favourable dairy ingredients market in the United States.

Higher selling prices in relation to the higher cost of milk in the Canadian and Argentine divisions and higher sales volumes in both countries also increased revenues.

The dairy giant's Canadian operations generated $131.9-million of earnings, up nearly 5 per cent from the prior year as revenues surpassed $1-billion.

U.S. earnings grew 17.9 per cent to $72.5-million as acquisitions increased revenues to $722.7-million from $502.9-million in the prior period.

The grocery segment continued to struggle. Profits fell by 25 per cent to $2.7-million, from $3.6-million as revenues were down $5.2-million, or 14 per cent, to $31.6-million.

The dairy giant has announced a corporate shakeup that will see long-time company executive Dino Dello Sbarba taking over in April as president and chief operating officer.

Lino Saputo Jr. will remain chief executive officer and vice-chairman, while other executives will be take over the Canadian and international dairy operations.

Saputo voluntarily recalled one of its milk products sold in Ontario and Aylmer, Que., recently because it may contain a cleaning solution.

The affected product is called Neilson Trutaste two per cent Microfiltered Partly Skimmed Milk and is sold in four-litre bags.

Saputo is the world’s 12th largest dairy processor and Canada’s largest with more than 10,200 employees. It produces, markets and distributes cheese, milk, yogurt and dairy products at 47 plants around the world. It is also Canada's largest snack cake producer.

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