Results for the fourth quarter and for fiscal 2006: Net sales increase for Lassonde Industries Inc.



    ROUGEMONT, QC, March 30 /CNW Telbec/ - Lassonde Industries Inc.
(LAS.A-TSX) today announced that net sales for the fourth quarter of 2006
reached $91.8 million, a 9.0% increase over the same period last year. This
brings net sales for the year 2006 to $353.3 million, a 9.5% increase over the
previous year's results.
    Net earnings for the fourth quarter were $3.9 million, and $13.7 million
for fiscal 2006, down $1.0 million from the same quarter last year, and
$3.4 million from the previous year. The drop in the fourth quarter was due to
significant increases in the cost of raw materials, containers, and packaging,
and in sales and marketing costs associated with the development of new
business niches. For the year as a whole, the drop in net earnings was mainly
due to an unusual non-recurring income tax charge and to a non-recurring
interest charge connected to the Quebec government's enactment of Bill 15, and
to costs incurred to support the development of new business niches.
    "On the whole, it was a good year that met our expectations and that
accurately reflects the effort we invested in developing new business niches
and in gaining additional market shares," stated Mr. Pierre-Paul Lassonde,
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc.

    
    Financial Highlights (in thousands of dollars except earnings per share)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Highlights (in thousands
     of dollars except              Quarters ended           Years ended
     earnings per share)              December 31            December 31
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                    2006        2005        2006        2005
                              (unaudited) (unaudited)   (audited)   (audited)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net sales                   $ 91,839    $ 84,281    $353,318    $322,763
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Operating income            $  6,537    $  8,557    $ 26,791    $ 28,292
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings before income
     taxes                      $  6,014    $  7,854    $ 24,504    $ 25,647
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Net earnings                $  3,933    $  4,973    $ 13,748    $ 17,100
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Earnings per share          $   0.58    $   0.73    $   2.02    $   2.51
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total assets                $224,764    $209,519    $224,764    $209,519
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Cash flows from operating
     activities                 $  8,189    $  8,371    $ 25,048    $ 28,143
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Shareholders' equity        $124,574    $118,296    $124,574    $118,296
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Shareholders' equity /
     total assets                   55.4%       56.5%       55.4%       56.5%
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Note to financial highlights: These are financial highlights only.
    Management's Discussion and Analysis and the audited consolidated
    financial statements and notes thereto of Lassonde Industries Inc. for
    the year ended December 31, 2006 will be available on the SEDAR Web site
    at www.sedar.com.
    

    Cash flows from operating activities totalled $25.0 million in 2006
compared with $28.1 million recorded the previous year.
    As at December 31, 2006 the Company's assets totalled $224.8 million, an
increase of 7.3% over the previous year. There was no significant change
within the assets, the variations in these items being above all the result of
seasonal factors or attributable to the growth in sales figures.
    Current liabilities were $58.2 million at the end of 2006, up from
$44.4 million as at December 31, 2005. The difference is above all due to a
$5.7 million bank loan, to a $3.3 million increase in accounts payable and
accrued liabilities, and to a $5.2 million increase in income taxes. For its
part, long-term debt decreased $4.5 million. The percentage of long-term debt
to the combined total of long-term debt and shareholders' equity was 18.8% as
at December 31, 2006, compared with 22.0% at year-end 2005.
    During the year just ended, the Company resumed its stock redemption
program and redeemed for cancellation 92,500 Class A subordinate voting shares
for a cash consideration of $3.5 million. The redemptions were made in
accordance with the Toronto Stock Exchange's rules and policies on normal
course issuer bids. The Company also announced its intention to redeem
additional shares in 2007.
    On February 20, 2007, the Board of Directors of the Company declared a
quarterly dividend of $0.155 per share, payable on March 15, 2007 to all
registered holders of Class A and Class B shares as at March 5, 2007. This
dividend represents a 24,0% increase over the dividend declared for the same
quarter last year. It should be noted that this is an eligible dividend.

    Outlook

    Lassonde Industries Inc. has always built on the quality of its products,
the reputation of its trademarks, its propensity for innovation, and a solid
balance sheet in the pursuit of its objectives of growth, profitability, and
value creation. "The Company implements measures to mitigate the effect of
increases in the cost of raw materials, containers, and packaging," stated Mr.
Lassonde. "For the year to come, we are optimistic that we will be able to
increase our net sales and our net earnings, and to make gains in all our
geographical markets in the retail and food service market segments," he
continued. According to Mr. Lassonde, special effort will be devoted to
markets outside Quebec, markets that hold major growth potential for the
Company. Finally, the Company continues to be on the lookout for any
acquisition or partnership likely to create value for its shareholders, stated
the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.

    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: Jean Tessier, Vice-President, Treasury,
Lassonde Industries Inc., (450) 469-4926, extension 206


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