High Liner Foods reports gains for first quarter of fiscal 2009



    - Strong growth in sales and earnings despite weakened economy -

    LUNENBURG, NS, May 13 /CNW/ - High Liner Foods Incorporated (TSX:HLF;
HLF.A), a leading North American value-added frozen seafood company, today
reported financial results for the quarter ended April 4, 2009. All amounts
are reported in Canadian dollars unless stated otherwise.

    
    First quarter highlights:

    -   Sales of $183.3 million, including an increase of 7.9% in Canadian
        operations and an increase of 8.6% in U.S. operations as measured in
        U.S. dollars;
    -   Adjusted EBITDA(1) of $13.1 million, an increase of 48.6% compared to
        the first quarter of 2008; and
    -   Net income of $7.3 million, or fully diluted earnings per share of
        $0.40, excluding one-time after-tax integration costs and non-
        operating items of approximately $0.6 million ($0.04 per share).
    

    "Our robust first quarter results from our strong organization
successfully executing its business plan," said Henry Demone, President and
Chief Executive Officer, High Liner Foods Inc. "Of particular note, we
benefited from new business gained in the Canadian food service channel late
last year and achieved solid sales volume growth in our U.S. retail business.
Sales volumes with national family and casual dining restaurants in the U.S.
were lower, as expected given the economy. However, other segments of our U.S.
food service business did well. We also benefited from a longer promotional
period leading up to Easter due to a later Lent this year."

    First Quarter Financial Results

    Sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 were $183.3 million, an
increase of 22.8% compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2008. With
approximately half of the Company's operations, including sales, denominated
in U.S. dollars, the weaker Canadian dollar increased the value of reported
U.S. sales by approximately $21.7 million. Adjusting for the effect of the
weaker Canadian dollar, consolidated sales increased 8.3% for the quarter due
to higher selling prices and volume gains.
    Although price increases were put in place late in 2008 and early in
2009, sales volume increased 1.3% to 49.5 million pounds compared to 48.9
million pounds in the first quarter of last year. Price increases were
necessary to cover the increased cost of seafood and other commodities and to
offset the weakened Canadian dollar.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    (Amounts in thousands of Canadian $ except per share amounts)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                      Thirteen     Thirteen
                                                    Weeks ended  Weeks ended
                                                       April 4,    March 29,
                                                        2009         2008
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sales                                               183,276      149,238
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Adjusted EBITDA                                      13,105        8,821
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net income                                            6,696        3,094
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net income excluding one-time integration
     costs and non-operating items                        7,299        4,424
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Basic earnings per Common Share:
      Net income                                          $0.36        $0.20
      Net income excluding one-time integration
       costs and non-operating items                      $0.40        $0.30
    Diluted earnings per Common Share:
      Net income                                          $0.36        $0.18
      Net income excluding one-time integration
       costs and non-operating items                      $0.40        $0.26
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    

    Adjusted EBITDA in the quarter increased to $13.1 million from $8.8
million. The change in the value of the Canadian dollar added $1.0 million
related to the conversion of U.S. results to Canadian dollars. The additional
synergies achieved from the FPI acquisition, and higher sales resulting from
new product launches and expansion of distribution for existing products
increased Adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of sales to 7.2% from 5.9%. This
increase in margins is more in line with historical results.
    Net income from continuing operations for the first quarter of 2009 was
$6.7 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, compared to $3.1 million, or $0.18
per diluted share, for the same quarter last year.

    Operational Highlights for the First Quarter

    Canada

    Sales for the Company's Canadian operations were up 7.9% to $73.5 million
largely as a result of price increases implemented in the quarter and a strong
performance from the food service channel. The price increases were necessary
to recover rising input costs and to alleviate the impact of the weakening
Canadian dollar. While the increases resulted in higher sales, they kept sales
volume flat at 18.5 million pounds compared to the first quarter of last year.
    The Canadian food service business had sales volume growth of 6.8%(2) due
to new business gained in late 2008 and a fully integrated sales and marketing
team. Retail sales volume decreased 5.7%(2) as a result of price increases
implemented in the first quarter, which had a more significant impact on our
higher-priced, and larger sized packages.

    United States

    Sales for the Company's U.S. operations increased 8.6%, as measured in
U.S. dollars, to US$88.1 million due to particularly strong performance in the
retail channel. The weakened Canadian dollar increased sales reported in
Canadian dollars by approximately $21.7 million. U.S. operations sales volume
for the quarter increased 2.2% to 31.0 million pounds compared to 30.4 million
pounds in the first quarter of 2008.
    The U.S. retail business achieved a 7.6%(2) increase in sales volume and
gained additional market share of 1.2 share points (a 15.6% increase) in the
breaded category during the quarter. This increase was across both branded and
club channels.
    The U.S. food service business experienced a decline in sales volume of
1.8%(2), due to fewer people eating away from home during the weakened
economy. Despite a more pronounced decrease in volume at national family and
casual dinning restaurants, most other segments within High Liner's U.S. food
service business saw an increase in sales volume.

    Dividends

    The Company paid a $0.0625 per share quarterly dividend on March 15, 2009
to Common and Non-Voting Equity shareholders of record on March 1, 2009.

    Subsequent to the end of the quarter, the Board of Directors of the
Company resolved to pay a quarterly dividend in the amount of $0.0625 per
Common and Non-Voting Equity Share payable on June 15, 2009 to shareholders of
record on June 1, 2009. This will be the twenty-third consecutive quarterly
dividend paid by the Company on its common shares.

    Outlook

    "We are well-positioned to successfully navigate through these troubling
economic times," said Mr. Demone. "Now well over a year since our acquisition
of FPI, we are benefiting from the successful integration and the synergies
achieved to date. We will drive continued growth in our business by leveraging
our core High Liner and FPI brands, strengthened market positions, and
expanded product development expertise. At the same time we will remain
diligent in controlling our costs in the current economic environment. We
expect continued volatility in the U.S. and Canadian dollar exchange rate and
therefore we continue to manage this risk through a disciplined hedging
policy. Although some seafood and other input cost increases are leveling,
many of these costs remain higher than their historical average over the past
few years."

    Conference Call

    The Company will host a conference call on Thursday, May 14, 2009 at
10:30 a.m. ET (11:30 a.m. AT) to discuss its first quarter fiscal 2009
results. To access the conference call by telephone, dial 416-644-3425 or
1-800-590-1817. Please connect approximately ten minutes prior to the
beginning of the call to ensure participation. The conference call will be
archived for replay by telephone until Thursday, May 21, 2009 at midnight. To
access the archived conference call, dial 416-640-1917 or 1-877-289-8525 and
enter the reservation number 21304145 followed by the number sign.
    A live audio webcast of the conference call will be available at
www.highlinerfoods.com. Please connect at least 15 minutes prior to the
conference call to ensure adequate time for any software download that may be
required to join the webcast. The webcast will be archived at the above
website for one year.

    About High Liner Foods Incorporated

    High Liner Foods Incorporated is a leading North American processor and
marketer of prepared, value-added frozen seafood. High Liner's branded
products are sold throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico under the
High Liner(R), Fisher Boy(R), Mirabel(R), Royal Sea(R), and Sea Cuisine(TM)
labels, and are available in most grocery and club stores. The Company also
sells its High Liner(R), FPI(R) and Mirabel(R) food service products to
restaurants and institutions, and is a major supplier of private label seafood
products to North American food retailers and food service distributors. High
Liner Foods is a publicly traded Canadian company, trading under the symbols
HLF and HLF.A on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    This document contains forward-looking statements, including sales,
earnings, marketing, and profitability comments for 2009 and beyond. These
statements contain words such as "anticipate", "expect", "could", "should",
"may", "plans", "will", or similar expressions that are based on and arise out
of our experience, our perception of trends, current conditions and expected
future developments as well as other factors. The statements are not a
guarantee of future performance. By their nature, forward-looking statements
involve uncertainties and risks that the forecasts and targets will not be
achieved.
    Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking
statements, as a number of important factors, as discussed herein and in our
other continuous disclosure documents, could cause actual results to differ
materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. We include
in publicly available documents filed from time to time with securities
commissions and The Toronto Stock Exchange, a thorough discussion of the risk
factors that can cause anticipated outcomes to differ from actual outcomes. We
disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise forward-looking
statements.
    For further information about the Company, please visit our Internet site
at www.highlinerfoods.com or send an e-mail to investor@highlinerfoods.com.

    Financial Statements

    For convenience, this press release includes the Company's Fiscal First
Quarter Balance Sheets and Statements of Income, Statements of Comprehensive
Income, Statements of Retained Earnings and Statements of Cash Flows.


    
                        HIGH LINER FOODS INCORPORATED
                             As at April 4, 2009
     (with comparative figures as at March 29, 2008 and January 3, 2009)

                         CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
                                 (Unaudited)
                     (in thousands of Canadian dollars)

                                           April 4,    March 29,   January 3,
                                              2009         2008         2009
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    ASSETS
      Current:
        Cash                                 4,915          328        7,032
        Accounts receivable                 67,431       65,543       63,873
        Income tax receivable                    -        1,865           45
        Inventories                        145,209      121,959      146,863
        Prepaid expenses                     2,168        2,496        1,782
        Future income taxes                  1,338          567        1,533
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Total current assets                 221,061      192,758      221,128
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Property, plant and equipment         58,659       57,962       59,016
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Other:
        Future income taxes                    688        1,586          833
        Other assets                           133           69          133
        Employee future benefits             4,155        6,848        3,477
        Intangible assets                   24,097       20,951       24,065
        Goodwill                            31,044       23,331       30,767
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            60,117       52,785       59,275
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           339,837      303,505      339,419
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



    LIABILITIES AND SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY
      Current:
        Bank loans                          58,069       46,552       39,931
        Accounts payable and accrued
         liabilities                        51,677       61,330       73,611
        Income taxes payable                   734          153        2,443
        Current portion of long-term
         debt                                1,286            -            -
        Current portion of capital
         lease obligations                     458          525          458
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Total current liabilities            112,224      108,560      116,443
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Long-term debt                        63,913       53,950       63,939
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Long-term capital lease
       obligations                             447          422          513
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Other long-term liabilities            2,126            -        2,112
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Employee future benefits                 771        4,336          563
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Shareholders' Equity:
        Preference shares                        -       50,236            -
        Common shares                      109,787       59,093      109,787
        Contributed surplus                    364          400          364
        Retained earnings                   55,444       41,972       49,897
        Accumulated other comprehensive
         loss                               (5,239)     (15,464)      (4,199)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           160,356      136,237      155,849
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                           339,837      303,505      339,419
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                        HIGH LINER FOODS INCORPORATED

                 For the thirteen weeks ended April 4, 2009
    (with comparative figures for the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008)

                      CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                                 (Unaudited)
        (in thousands of Canadian dollars, except per share amounts)

                                                          Thirteen Weeks
                                                         2009         2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Sales                                             $ 183,276    $ 149,238
    Cost of sales                                       142,787      115,482
    Distribution expenses                                10,034        9,567
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Gross profit                                         30,455       24,189
    Commission income                                       196          109
    Selling, general and administrative expenses        (19,013)     (16,555)
    Foreign exchange loss                                  (248)        (402)
    Business acquisition costs                             (592)      (1,493)
    Amortization of intangible assets                      (374)        (320)
    Loss on disposal of assets and other expense           (160)        (103)
    Interest expense
      Short-term                                           (498)        (728)
      Long-term                                          (1,011)        (875)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Income before income taxes                            8,755        3,822
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Income taxes
      Current                                              (781)        (634)
      Future                                             (1,278)         (94)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total income taxes                                   (2,059)        (728)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net income                                            6,696        3,094
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    PER SHARE INFORMATION
    Earnings per Common Share
      Basic, net income                                    0.36         0.20
      Diluted, net income                                  0.36         0.18
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Average shares outstanding for the period
      Basic                                          18,470,663   13,396,396
      Diluted                                        18,473,687   17,303,300
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                        HIGH LINER FOODS INCORPORATED

                 For the thirteen weeks ended April 4, 2009
    (with comparative figures for the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008)

               CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF COMPREHENSIVE INCOME
                                 (Unaudited)
                     (in thousands of Canadian dollars)

                                                          Thirteen Weeks
                                                         2009         2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net income for the period                             6,696        3,094
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Other comprehensive income, net of future
     income taxes
      Unrealized foreign exchange gains of
       self-sustaining foreign operations
       (net of nil taxes in 2009 and 2008)                  905        1,731
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Net (loss) gain on derivative financial
       instruments designated as cash flow hedges
       (net of $0.1 million income tax recovery in
       2009; $0.9 million income tax expense in 2008)      (596)       1,548
      Net (gain) loss on derivatives designated
       as cash flow hedges in prior periods
       transferred to net income in the current
       period (net of $1.0 million income tax expense
       in 2009; $0.1 million income tax recovery in
       2008)                                             (1,852)          58
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Net (loss) gain on derivatives designated
       as cash flow hedges                               (2,448)       1,606
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Other comprehensive (loss) income                    (1,543)       3,337
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Comprehensive income                                  5,153        6,431
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                        HIGH LINER FOODS INCORPORATED

                 For the thirteen weeks ended April 4, 2009
    (with comparative figures for the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008)

                CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF RETAINED EARNINGS
                                 (Unaudited)
                     (in thousands of Canadian dollars)

                                                          Thirteen Weeks
                                                         2009         2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Balance, beginning of period                          49,897      40,112
    Net income for the period                              6,696       3,094
    Dividends:
      Common shares                                       (1,154)       (670)
      Series A preference shares                               -        (250)
      Second preference shares                                 -        (166)
    Share issuance expenses                                    5        (148)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Balance, end of period                                55,444      41,972
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------



                        HIGH LINER FOODS INCORPORATED

                 For the thirteen weeks ended April 4, 2009
    (with comparative figures for the thirteen weeks ended March 29, 2008)

                    CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
                                 (Unaudited)
                     (in thousands of Canadian dollars)

                                                          Thirteen Weeks
                                                         2009         2008

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash provided by (used in) operations:
      Net income from operations for the period            6,696       3,094
      Charges (credits) to income not involving
       cash from operations:
       Depreciation and amortization                       2,329       1,912
       Loss on disposal of assets                            153          78
       Stock compensation expense                              1         114
       Payments of employee future benefits
        (in excess of expense) less than expense            (485)          1
       Unrealized foreign exchange loss                      137         700
       Future income taxes                                 1,278          94
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
      Cash flow from operations before changes
       in non-cash working capital                        10,109       5,993
      Net change in non-cash working capital balances    (27,640)      2,809
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         (17,531)      8,802
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash provided by (used in) financing activities:
      Change in current bank loans                        17,435     (16,194)
      Repayment of long-term capital lease obligations      (101)       (126)
      Dividends paid
        Second Preference                                      -        (166)
        Series A Preference                                    -        (250)
        Common                                            (1,154)       (670)
      Share issuance cost                                      6        (148)
      Preference share redemption                              -         (34)
      Issue of equity shares                                   -         203
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                          16,186     (17,385)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash provided by (used in) investing activities:
      Purchase of property, plant and equipment
      (net of investment tax credits)                       (783)       (500)
      Net proceeds (expenditures) on disposal of assets        5         (21)
      Use of investment tax credits                            -         259
      Business acquisition adjustment                          -       1,907
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                            (778)      1,645
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Foreign exchange impact on cash                            6         202
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Decrease in cash during the period                    (2,117)     (6,736)
    Cash, beginning of period                              7,032       7,064
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash, end of period                                    4,915         328
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (1) Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
        amortization, business acquisition costs, other income and non-
        operating transactions as disclosed on the consolidated statements of
        income. Management believes that EBITDA is a useful performance
        measure as it approximates cash generated from operations, before
        capital expenditures and changes in working capital and excludes
        unusual items. EBITDA also assists comparison among companies as it
        eliminates the differences in earnings due to how a company is
        financed. The calculation of Adjusted EBITDA follows the general
        principles and guidance for reporting EBITDA issued by the Canadian
        Institute of Chartered Accountants.
    (2) Sales volume as measured in pounds.
    

    %SEDAR: 00001789E




For further information:

For further information: Kelly Nelson, Vice President, Corporate
Services & Chief Financial Officer, High Liner Foods Incorporated, Tel: (902)
634-8811, investor@highlinerfoods.com; Trevor Heisler, Investor Relations, The
Equicom Group Inc., Tel: (416) 815-0700 ext.270, theisler@equicomgroup.com


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