SunOpta Inc. Announces Fiscal 2010 and Fourth Quarter 2010 Results

/ Source: GlobeNewswire

TORONTO, March 8, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- SunOpta Inc. ("SunOpta" or "the Company") (Nasdaq:STKL) (TSX:SOY), a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods and natural health products, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 1, 2011 ("fiscal 2010"). All amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars and results are reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, except where specifically noted.

RESULTS FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED JANUARY 1, 2011

For fiscal 2010 the Company realized revenues of $898.9 million versus revenues of $819.0 million in 2009, a year over year increase of 9.8%. After adjusting for movements in foreign exchange rates, commodity related pricing and the impact of acquisitions, revenues increased approximately 10.6% on a consolidated basis.

For fiscal 2010, the Company realized operating income1 of $41.4 million or 4.6% of revenues versus operating income1 in the prior year of $12.2 million or 1.5% of revenues. During fiscal 2010, all operating segments realized increased revenues and operating income1 versus the prior year.

On a GAAP basis, the Company realized net income of $61.1 million or $0.92 per diluted common share in fiscal 2010 versus a net loss in 2009 of $6.8 million or $0.10 per diluted common share.   Included in the 2010 results was a net gain after tax on the sale of the Canadian Food Distribution assets of $11.9 million or $0.18 per diluted common share and a net gain after tax on the sale of SunOpta BioProcess Inc. of $34.9 million or $0.53 per diluted common share, offset by certain non-cash goodwill, impairment charges and other items of $6.9 million after tax or $0.11 per diluted common share.

Adjusted earnings from operations1 in fiscal 2010 were $21.2 million or $0.32 per diluted common share. Absorbed in these results were additional pre-tax costs of approximately $5.0 million, including legal and professional fees and costs related to ongoing facility and operational rationalizations which are not expected to recur. 

The Company realized EBITDA1 in fiscal 2010 of $59.2 million as compared to $29.2 million in the prior year, an increase of approximately 103%.

For the fourth quarter of 2010 the Company realized revenues of $230.4 million versus fourth quarter 2009 revenues of $199.3 million, a year over year increase of 15.6%. After adjusting for movements in foreign exchange rates, commodity related pricing and the impact of acquisitions, revenue increased approximately 10.6% on a consolidated basis.

Operating income1 for the fourth quarter of 2010 increased to $9.9 million or 4.3% of revenues versus operating income1 in the prior year of $2.6 million or 1.3% of revenues. 

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 the Company reported net income on a GAAP basis of $1.9 million or $0.03 per diluted common share versus a net loss in the fourth quarter of 2009 of $2.2 million or $0.03 loss per diluted common share. Included in the fourth quarter 2010 results were the negative impact of results from discontinued operations of $0.7 million after tax, or $0.01 per diluted common share, plus the net impact of after tax costs related to the fourth quarter acquisitions, non-cash stock compensation costs in a subsidiary and non-cash pension wind-up costs totalling $1.9 million, or $0.03 per diluted common share.

Adjusted earnings from operations1 for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $4.5 million or $0.07 per diluted common share or $0.08 per diluted common share using the annual effective tax rate for fiscal 2010. Absorbed in these results were additional pre-tax costs of approximately $0.4 million related primarily to ongoing facility and operational rationalizations which are not expected to recur.

EBITDA1 for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 increased 126% to $15.4 million versus $6.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, indicative of the improved operating performance realized within the business.

At January 1, 2011 the Company's balance sheet reflects a current working capital ratio of 1.42 to 1.00, long-term debt to equity ratio of 0.22 to 1.00 and total debt to equity ratio of 0.48 to 1.00. On December 20, 2010 the Company refinanced its syndicated long-term debt and operating lines through October 2012. At January 1, 2011 the Company had total assets of $609.7 million and a net book value of $4.44 per outstanding share. 

Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta, commented, "We are very pleased with our fourth quarter and fiscal 2010 results. The fiscal 2010 results represent record net earnings and record operating income for the Company. Our earnings from operations have shown significant improvement and reflect our continued efforts to improve returns in our core operating segments. While we are pleased with the improvements realized, we believe there is further opportunity, and we are working to realize continued improvements in support of our goal of 8% earnings from operations. Over the course of 2010 we completed a number of strategic transactions, acquiring two core businesses and disposing of two non-core businesses, all in support of our mission to build a focused global leader in natural and organic foods. We remain confident that our focus on margin improvement and asset management, when combined with strong consumer interest in health and wellness, positions our Company for long-term success." 

The Company plans to host a conference call at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, March 9th, 2011 to discuss these results and recent corporate developments. The conference call can be accessed via a link at the Company's website at www.sunopta.com. Additionally, the call may be accessed with the toll free dial-in number 1-877-312-9198 or 631-291-4622. A replay number can also be accessed between March 9th and 16th with the toll free dial-in number 1–800-642-1687 or 706-645-9291 followed by pass code: 40966049#.

1 See discussion of Non-GAAP Measures

About SunOpta Inc.

SunOpta Inc. is a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods and natural health products. The Company specializes in sourcing, processing and packaging of natural and organic food products, integrated from seed through packaged products; with a focus on strategically significant vertically integrated business models. The Company's core natural and organic food operations focus on value-added grains, fiber and fruit based product offerings, supported by a global infrastructure. The Company has two non-core holdings, a 66.4% ownership position in Opta Minerals Inc. (TSX:OPM), a producer, distributor, and recycler of environmentally friendly industrial materials, and a minority ownership position in Mascoma Corporation, an innovative biofuels company.

The SunOpta Inc. logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=3958

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements included in this press release may be considered "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities legislation, which are based on information available to us on the date of this release. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our continued efforts to improve returns in our key operating segments, our mission to build a global leader, our goal for earnings from operations, our focus on margin improvement and asset management and positioning for long-term success. The terms and phrases "continue," "improve," "remain confident," "positions," and other similar terms and phrases are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on information available to us on the date of this release and are based on estimates and assumptions made by the Company in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments as well as other factors the Company believes are appropriate in the circumstances including, but not limited to, general economic conditions, consumer interest in health and wellness, product pricing levels, current customer demand, competitive intensity, cost rationalization and product development initiatives. Whether actual timing and results will agree with expectations and predications of the Company is subject to many risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, global economic conditions, consumer spending patterns and changes in market trends, decreases in customer demand, potential failure of product development, working capital management and continuous improvement initiatives, availability and pricing of raw materials and supplies, and other risks described from time to time under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and its Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q (available at www.sec.gov ). Consequently all forward-looking statements made herein are qualified by these cautionary statements and there can be no assurance that the actual results or developments anticipated by the Company will be realized.

Non-GAAP Measures

In addition to reporting financial results in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles ("GAAP"), the Company provides information regarding Operating income, Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") and Adjusted earnings from operations as additional information about its operating results, which are not measures in accordance with GAAP. The Company believes that these non-GAAP measures assist investors in comparing performance across reporting periods on a consistent basis by excluding items that are not indicative of the Company's core operating performance. The non-GAAP measures of operating income, EBITDA, and Adjusted earnings from operations should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for performance measures calculated in accordance with GAAP. 

The Company defines Operating income as "Earnings from continuing operations before the following" excluding the impact of "Other expense (income), net" and "Goodwill impairment"; and EBITDA as Operating income plus depreciation and amortization. The following is a tabular presentation of Operating income and EBITDA, including a reconciliation to GAAP earnings, which the Company believes to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

Adjusted earnings from operations and Adjusted earnings from operations per diluted share are non-GAAP measures. During the quarter and year ended January 1, 2011, the Company recognized certain gains and recorded specific expenses against income that we do not believe are reflective of normal business operations. As a result, earnings attributable to SunOpta Inc. and earnings per diluted share are adjusted to arrive at Adjusted earnings from operations and Adjusted earnings from operations per diluted share. The following is a tabular presentation of Adjusted earnings from operations and Adjusted earnings from operations per diluted share, including a reconciliation to GAAP earnings attributable to SunOpta Inc. and earnings per diluted share, which the Company believes to be the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

CONTACT: SunOpta Inc. Steve Bromley, President & CEO Eric Davis, Vice President & CFO Tony Tavares, Chief Operating Officer Susan Wiekenkamp, Information Officer Tel: 905-455-2528, ext 103 susan.wiekenkamp@sunopta.com Website: www.sunopta.com