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Improvements at Loblaw boost Weston Q1 profit

Toronto-based company reports $107 million of net income

George Weston Limited is reporting a 189% increase to its first-quarter profit, mostly because of improved results from its stake in Loblaw.

The Toronto-based company, which also owns the Weston Foods bakery business, had $107 million of net income in the quarter ended March 25.

That's up from $37 million in the comparable period last year, even though revenue was unchanged at $10.8 billion.

Weston said the year-over-year improvement in its net income was due to several factors, including better underlying performance at Loblaw's retail segment and the parent company's increased ownership in Loblaw.

This year's first-quarter profit was also helped by a $47 million positive adjustment to the fair value of its previously announced agreement to sell 9.6 million common shares of Loblaw.

After adjustments, earnings available to common shareholders were up 8.9% to $183 million and the dividend for Weston common shares will rise 3.4% per quarter with the July payout.

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