Toronto, Ont. – Baked goods producer and grocery retailer George Weston has announced that its net earnings fell 40 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2012, pulling annual net profits down by 23.5 per cent.
Net earnings attributable to shareholders fell to $65 million in the 12 weeks ended Dec. 31, 2012, down from $109 million in the same period in 2011. However, during the same period revenue climbed 1.2 per cent to almost $7.73 billion from $7.64 billion in 2011 Q4.
George Weston, the largest shareholder in Loblaw Cos., said the drop was primarily attributable to the impact of the forward sale agreement for 9.6 million Loblaw common shares, as well as restructuring and other charges.
The increase in earnings – adjusted basic net earnings were $1.02 per share, up from $1.01 in the same period in 2011 – was due to an improvement in operating performance for Weston Foods and Loblaw, including a $61-million restructuring plan by the latter division in Q4.
Overall, net income attributable to shareholders for 2012 was $486 million, or $3.45 per common share, on revenues of $32.74 billion. That compares to net earnings of $635 million, or $4.58 per share, on revenue of $32.38 billion in 2011.