Lassonde Industries Inc. announces its first quarter 2009 results



    ROUGEMONT, QC, May 8 /CNW Telbec/ - Lassonde Industries Inc. (LAS.A -
TSX) today announced that it recorded a slight increase in net sales during
the first quarter of 2009.

    
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Financial highlights                           First quarters ended
    (in thousands of dollars except
    basic and diluted earnings per share)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                            March 28, 2009   March 29, 2008
                                                (unaudited)  (unaudited and
                                                                restated)(1)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net sales                                     $120,099         $118,985
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating income                                 9,182           10,017
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings before  income taxes                    8,459            9,019
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings                                     5,837            6,104
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Basic and diluted earnings per share              0.88             0.92
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Note: These are financial highlights only. Management's Discussion and
    Analysis, the unaudited consolidated financial statements and notes
    thereto of Lassonde Industries Inc. for the quarter ended March 28, 2009
    will be available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com and on the
    website of Lassonde Industries Inc.

    (1) The comparative figures of the year-earlier quarter have been
    restated to reflect a new accounting standard on goodwill and intangible
    assets that was applied as of January 1, 2009. This new standard was
    applied retroactively and the corresponding prior period consolidated
    financial statements have been restated accordingly. Under this standard,
    the Company now accounts for acquisitions of deferred charges directly as
    a reduction to sales. Previously, such deferred charges were recorded at
    cost and amortized over periods ranging from 12 to 24 months. The
    amortization was applied against sales.
    

    Financial results
    -----------------

    As reported in the Company's consolidated financial statements, net sales
during the first quarter of 2009 were $120.1 million, a 0.9% increase over the
$119.0 million in net sales recorded in the same quarter of 2008.
    "The decline in our sales growth is mainly attributable to a more
challenging competitive environment in the first quarter of 2009 compared to
the first quarter of 2008. In addition, the net sales growth in 2008 benefited
from the revenues of the two acquisitions carried out in November 2007", said
Pierre-Paul Lassonde, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Lassonde Industries
Inc.
    The Company's operating income went from $10.0 million in the first
quarter of 2008 to $9.2 million for the same quarter of 2009, down $0.8
million. This decrease in operating income results from the fact that while
the 0.9% higher net sales produced a stable level of contribution margin,
amortization expense also increased by $0.7 million. It should also be noted
that the Company's purchasing costs were affected by the relative weakness of
the Canadian dollar during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same
quarter in 2008. This negative impact was offset, however, by an important
reduction in the Company's transportation costs.
    Earnings before income taxes were also affected by the higher
amortization expense and stood at $8.5 million at the end of the first quarter
of 2009, a 6.2% decrease compared to the $9.0 million recorded in the first
quarter of 2008.
    Income taxes at an effective rate of 31.0% brought net earnings to $5.8
million for the first three months of 2009; this compares to an effective
income tax rate of 32.3% and net earnings of $6.1 million for the first
quarter of 2008. The lower effective income tax rate is attributable to a
gradual decrease in statutory federal corporate income tax rates.
    Basic and diluted earnings per share stood at $0.88 for the first quarter
of 2009 compared to $0.92 for the first quarter of 2008.

    Outlook
    -------

    Although the food industry in which Lassonde Industries Inc. operates is
generally perceived as being less affected by the current economic downturn,
the Company has noted a slight decline in demand in its food services market
segment. Despite this less favourable context, Lassonde Industries Inc. plans
to maintain its business model and prudent management style.
    "Barring further deterioration of the state of the economy, the
management believes that the Company will be able to maintain the level of its
net sales for the next quarters of 2009," concluded Mr. Lassonde.

    About Lassonde Industries Inc.
    ------------------------------

    Lassonde Industries Inc. develops, manufactures and markets an innovative
and distinctive line of fruit and vegetable juices and drinks as well as
certain specialty food products such as fondue broths and fondue sauces, beans
in sauce, soups, sauces and gravies, canned corn-on-the-cob, bruschetta
toppings, tapenades, pestos and pasta sauces. Lassonde Industries Inc. imports
selected wines from several countries of origin for packaging and marketing
purposes. It also imports olive oil. These products are marketed in various
packaging and under several trademarks. Approximately 1,300 employees are
currently employed by Lassonde Industries Inc. and contribute to its growth.

    SEDAR registration number: 00002099

    This press release contains forward-looking statements that are based on
certain assumptions. These forward-looking statements are subject to a number
of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ
materially from current expectations. Additional factors are discussed in
materials filed from time to time with the securities regulatory authorities
in Canada. Lassonde Industries Inc. disclaims any intention or obligation to
update or revise any forward-looking statements.
    %SEDAR: 00002099EF




For further information:

For further information: Guy Blanchette, Vice-President and Chief
Financial Officer, Lassonde Industries Inc., (450) 469-4926, ext. 782


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