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Dairy processor Saputo is reporting higher profits and lower revenues in its first quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic upended consumer buying patterns.

The Montreal-based company 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.”

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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 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.

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