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Maple Leaf Foods posts smaller loss of $4.3M in Q3 as market challenges ease

Sales in the company's third quarter totalled $1.25 billion

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. reported a loss of $4.3 million in its latest quarter compared with a loss of $229.5 million a year earlier when the company took a large one-time, non-cash impairment charge related to its plant protein business.

The loss amounted to four cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a loss of $1.86 per share in the same quarter last year, the company said Thursday.

Sales in the company's third quarter totalled $1.25 billion, up from $1.23 billion a year earlier.

Market conditions are still challenging, but improving, said president and CEO Curtis Frank in the release Thursday.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf said it earned 13 cents per share for the quarter compared with an adjusted loss of a penny per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected an adjusted profit of 21 cents per share and $1.30 billion in revenue, according to estimates compiled by financial markets data firm Refinitiv.

Shares in the company were down more than nine per cent in late-morning trading.

In its outlook, Maple Leaf said its capital expenditures for 2023 are expected to be about $200 million, down from its earlier guidance of less than $250 million.

It said it expects mid-single-digit sales growth in 2023 for its meat protein category.

Investors should be encouraged by another quarter of sequential improvements at Maple Leaf, wrote RBC analyst Irene Nattel in a note.

Next year should mark an important inflection point for the company, she said, but gave a caveat: "The road from here to there is always bumpy."

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