SunOpta Inc., a leading global company focused on natural, organic and specialty foods, today announced financial results for the quarter ended March 31, 2012. All amounts are expressed in U.S. dollars and results are reported in accordance with U.S. GAAP, except where specifically noted.
For the first quarter of 2012, the Company reported quarterly revenues of $274.5 million versus revenues of $260.6 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011, a year over year increase of 5.4 percent. These revenues represent record first quarter revenues for the Company. Excluding the impact of changes including foreign exchange rates, commodity-related pricing, the impact of acquisitions and rationalized product lines, revenues increased approximately 7.0 percent on a consolidated basis. The increase in consolidated revenues in the first quarter was driven by strong growth in integrated packaged food product categories within SunOpta Foods and the steel products segment within Opta Minerals Inc. These increases were somewhat offset by the effect of product rationalizations in SunOpta Foods which in turn led to improved earnings, plus decreased volumes across certain ingredient categories.
Operating income1 for the first quarter of 2012 increased to $13.4 million or 4.9 percent of revenues versus $11.6 million or 4.5 percent of revenues in the prior year, a year over year increase of 15.8 percent. This increase was driven by improved operating income in both SunOpta Foods and Opta Minerals Inc. Within SunOpta Foods the Grains and Foods Group, Consumer Products Group and International Foods Group all realized improved operating income1 versus the prior year.
For the first quarter of 2012, the Company reported earnings per diluted common share from continuing operations of $0.09 or earnings of $6.1 million, as compared to $0.08 or earnings of $5.4 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011. After accounting for a loss from discontinued operations, earnings for the first quarter of 2012 were $5.9 million or $0.09 per diluted common share versus $5.1 million or $0.08 per diluted common share in the prior year. With the exception of the first quarter of 2005 when the Company realized a large one-time gain, these first quarter results are a record for the Company.
For the quarter ended March 31, 2012, the Company realized EBITDA1 of $18.3 million as compared to $16.4 million for the quarter ended April 2, 2011.
At March 31, 2012, the Company's balance sheet reflects a current ratio of 1.38 to 1.00, long-term debt to equity ratio of 0.21 to 1.00 and total debt to equity ratio of 0.64 to 1.00. At March 31, 2012 the Company has total debt outstanding of $196.2 million, total assets of $669.3 million and a net book value of $4.66 per outstanding share. During the quarter the Company used cash from operating activities of $7.3 million versus $33.9 million in the prior year, indicative of ongoing efforts to leverage resources within the Company plus the impact of increased commodity costs realized in the first quarter of 2011.
Steve Bromley, President and Chief Executive Officer of SunOpta commented, "We are very pleased with our first quarter results as they reflect both continued growth in our core natural and organic foods categories, plus the positive impact of operational improvements which we have continued to implement. During the first quarter we took a number of steps to streamline our operations and organization structure and we are pleased with our results to date. We remain confident in our focus on natural and organic foods and our strategy to improve operating margins, earnings predictability and return on assets."