News Briefs

  • 4/13/2023

    MTY Food Group reports Q1 profit up, acquisitions help revenue more than double

    MONTREAL - MTY Food Group Inc. reported a first-quarter profit of $18.4 million, up from $16.6 million a year earlier, as acquisitions helped its revenue more than double.

    The restaurant franchisor said Wednesday its profit amounted to 75 cents per diluted share for the quarter ended Feb. 28, up from 68 cents per diluted share a year earlier.

    Revenue at MTY totalled $286.0 million for the quarter, up from $140.5 million in the same quarter last year, while system sales totalled a record $1.36 billion, up from $885.7 million.

    MTY said the increase in revenue was mainly due to recent acquisitions in the United States.

    "Our acquisitions of Wetzel's Pretzels and Sauce Pizza and Wine during the quarter, along with the earlier BBQ Holdings transaction, largely contributed to 69% year-over-year growth in system sales in the U.S. market,'' MTY CEO Eric Lefebvre said in a statement.

    "On the Canadian side, we delivered 32% system sales growth as the business rebounded from pandemic-related restrictions in the first quarter last year.''

    During a call with analysts, Lefebvre said the company is expecting continued growth this spring.

    "We need patio season to start for sales to go up in some of our concepts,'' he said. "It's a slow start to spring so far.''

    The recent power outage in Quebec affected several of the company's restaurants, Lefebvre said.

    While some restaurants lost power and were closed for several days, others with power "crushed it during the weekend and ran out of food,'' he said.

    "As far as the power outage in Quebec is concerned, a lot of our restaurants were affected, some very positively and some very negatively,'' Lefebvre added.

    MTY franchises and operates restaurants under more than 85 different banners in Canada, the United States and internationally. On the convenience side, MTY operates Country Style and Mr. Sub

    At the end of its first quarter, MTY's network had 7,128 locations in operation, including 6,895 that were franchised or under operator agreements and 233 corporate locations.

    -The Canadian Press

  • 4/3/2023

    Lassonde reports $123.6M in profit for fourth quarter of 2022

    Sign in front of Lassonde's Brampton Ontario offices

    Quebec-headquartered Lassonde Industries Inc. reported $123.6 million in profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2022, down $10.5 million from the previous year.

    The agri-food company attributed the loss to a number of factors, noting it took a $5.2 million hit in 2022 following a production interruption of the cranberry sauce line at its New Jersey plant. 

    Higher input costs also played a role, particularly for apple and orange concentrates and PET resin, including an increase in the cost of transporting the produce to Lassonde’s plants, the company said.  

    Sales were up 9.5% to $556 million for the quarter.

    Gross profit for the full year reached $523.3 million, up $1.4 million from 2021. Sales totalled $2.15 billion, up 11.3% from the previous year.

    "Despite a challenging year impacting our financials, we achieved an important milestone in 2022 with sales exceeding the $2 billion mark for the first time in our history, representing almost 14% growth year-over-year. This achievement reflects the important efforts of our employees in the context of severe macro-economic headwinds and industry-wide challenges. During the past year, our team worked diligently to strengthen our leadership position in the North American food and beverage sector, with a particular focus on improving U.S. operations. We anticipate that tangible results from our operational excellence efforts will gradually become apparent in 2023 and 2024, establishing a clear path towards long-term profitable growth," said Nathalie Lassonde, CEO and vice chair of the board of directors of Lassonde Industries Inc., in a statement.

    Looking ahead, Lassonde expects the financial health of consumers, inflation and supply chain disruptions to have the biggest impact on its performance in fiscal 2023.

    The company said it expects the effects of cost increases on its branded and private label product offerings to continue to be felt in early 2023. It also expects further “pricing action” to be implemented as inflation persists.

    -Canadian Grocer

  • 4/2/2023

    Saputo signs deal to sell two milk processing plants in Australia to Coles Group

    Close up of Saputo sign at their headquarters in Montreal, QC, Canada. Saputo is a Canadian dairy company.

    MONTREAL - Saputo Inc. has signed a deal to sell two milk processing plants in Australia to supermarket giant Coles Group Ltd. for about $95 million.

    The Canadian diary giant says the fresh milk processing facilities are in the Australian states of Victoria and New South Wales.

    Saputo says the deal is expected to close in the second half of the year and is subject to customary conditions, including clearance from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

    Coles Group includes grocery stores, liquor stores, fuel and convenience retailers, a loyalty program and financial services.

    Saputo says the sale will help streamline its operations and allow it to reinvest in other areas of its business.

    CEO Lino Saputo says the company is continually working to ensure it has the right manufacturing footprint and product offering to enhance its position as a high-quality, low-cost processor.

    ``This marks an important step in executing our long-term vision for success in Australia as we maintain a sharp focus on efficiency to ensure we maximize the return on every litre of milk,'' he said in a statement.

    Australia deregulated its dairy market and eliminated support prices and quotas in 2000.

    According to Saputo's website, the company first entered Australia in 2014, acquiring a majority interest in the Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Co. Holdings Ltd.

  • 3/27/2023

    Federal minimum wage rising to $16.65 per hour on April 1

    Minimum Wage Sign

    OTTAWA - The federal minimum wage is rising to $16.65 per hour on April 1, up from $15.55.

    The government says the increase is based on the consumer price index, which rose 6.8% in 2022.

    The federal minimum wage applies to the federally regulated private sectors, including banks, postal and courier services, and interprovincial air, rail, road, and marine transportation.

    Ottawa set a federal minimum wage of $15 per hour in 2021 and increases it each year based on inflation.

    The changes are made every year on April 1.

    Where the provincial or territorial minimum wage rate is higher than the federal rate, employers must apply the higher amount.

    Manitoba announced its minimum wage is to rise to $15.30 an hour on Oct. 1 to help low-income earners deal with the rising cost of living.

    The wage, normally adjusted every fall in line with inflation, is currently $13.50 an hour. It's already set to rise to $14.15 on April 1 as part of an inflation-fighting measure the government announced last fall.

    On April 1, 2023, Yukon’s minimum wage will rise from $15.70 to $16.77 per hour, the territorial government confirmed on February 23, 2023. 

    As well, Quebec’s minimum wage will increase by one dollar from $14.25 an hour to $15.25 an hour on May 1, 2023, 

  • 12/19/2022

    Manufacturing, importing straws and other single use plastics now banned

    lots of single use plastic garbage

    OTTAWA - Canada's ban on the manufacture and import for sale of some plastic items, including grocery bags and straws, has taken effect.

    As of today, companies can no longer produce or bring into Canada plastic checkout bags, cutlery, stir sticks, straws and takeout containers - and in a year, it will also be illegal to sell them.

    The manufacturing and import ban will extend to the plastic rings used to package six-packs of canned drinks next June and their sale will be prohibited a year after that.

    The federal government estimates that getting rid of the single-use plastics will eliminate 1.3 million tonnes of difficult-to-recycle plastic waste and a million garbage bags' worth of pollution.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised in 2019 that a ban would take effect by 2021, but it took the government a year longer to figure out a regulatory framework to make it happen.

    Statistics published last month suggested that Canadians were already cutting back on using items such as straws and plastic bags ahead of the national ban.

    READ: Planning for the plastics ban

  • 12/12/2022

    Supreme Court won't block California flavoured tobacco ban

    Pack of menthol cigarettes and mint on turquoise background, closeup.

    WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court on Monday refused a request from tobacco companies to stop California from enforcing a ban on flavoured tobacco products that was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November.

    R.J. Reynolds and other tobacco companies sought the high court's intervention to keep the ban from taking effect by Dec. 21.

    There was no additional comment from the justices and no noted dissents.

    The ban was first passed by the state legislature two years ago but it never took effect after tobacco companies gathered enough signatures to put it on the ballot. But nearly two-thirds of voters approved of banning the sale of everything from cotton-candy vaping juice to menthol cigarettes.

    Supporters of the ban say the law was necessary to put a stop to a staggering rise in teen smoking.

    R.J. Reynolds filed a federal lawsuit filed the day after the Nov. 8 vote, but lower courts refused to keep the law on hold while the suit proceeds.

    Menthol cigarettes make up about a third of the market in California, the companies said in urging the Supreme Court to keep them from losing so much business in the nation's largest state.

    They argued that the authority to ban flavoured products rests with the federal Food and Drug Administration.

    California responded that federal law comfortably allows state and local governments to decide which tobacco products are to be sold in their jurisdictions. And the state noted that the companies only went to the Supreme Court after spending ``tens of millions of dollars'' in a losing cause at the polls.

    California will be the second state in the nation, after Massachusetts, to enact a ban prohibiting the sale of all flavoured tobacco products. A number of California cities, including Los Angeles and San Diego, have already enacted their own bans, and several states have outlawed flavoured vaping products. So far no legal challenges to those bans have prevailed, but the companies have an appeal pending at the high court in their fight with Los Angeles.

    It's already illegal for retailers to sell tobacco to anyone under 21. But advocates of the ban said flavoured cigarettes and vaping cartridges were still too easy for teens to obtain. The ban doesn't make it a crime to possess such products but retailers who sell them could be fined up to $250.

    In addition to menthol and other flavoured cigarettes, the ban also prohibits the sale of flavoured tobacco for vape pens, tank-based systems and chewing tobacco, with exceptions made for hookahs, some cigars and loose-leaf tobacco.

    -The Associated Press

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