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Lassonde Industries Inc. announces its Q2 2014 results

ROUGEMONT, QC, Aug. 8, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Lassonde Industries Inc. (TSX: LAS.A) ("Lassonde") posted sales of $272.4 million in the second quarter of 2014, a 5.4% increase year over year. Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders for this period totalled $11.2 million, down $0.2 million from the second quarter of 2013.

Financial highlights
(in thousands of dollars)
Second quarters ended
  June 28,
2014
June 29,
2013
Sales $  272,403 $  258,550
Operating profit 21,851 19,490
Profit before income taxes 16,877 15,646
Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders 11,228 11,385
Basic and diluted earnings per share (in $) $        1.61 $        1.63

Note: These are financial highlights only. Management's Discussion and Analysis, the unaudited interim condensed consolidated financial statements and notes thereto for the quarter ended June 28, 2014 will be available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com and on the website of Lassonde Industries Inc.

"The 2014 second quarter results reflect a combined impact of solid performance by our U.S. subsidiary and difficult market conditions in Canada. In addition, I'm pleased to announce the closing of the Apple & Eve acquisition, which marks another major step in the realization of our North American growth strategy," said Pierre-Paul Lassonde, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Lassonde Industries Inc.

Financial results
The Company's sales totalled $272.4 million in the second quarter of 2014, up $13.8 million or 5.4% from $258.6 million in sales during the same period of 2013. This increase was primarily driven by an increase in the sales of private labels and by a favourable foreign exchange impact, partly offset by a decrease in the sales volume of national brands. For the first six months of 2014, sales totalled $516.6 million, up 3.5% from $499.1 million in the first six months of 2013.

The Company's operating profit for the second quarter of 2014 stood at $21.9 million, up $2.4 million from operating profit of $19.5 million in the same quarter last year. This increase was mostly due to an improvement in the profitability of Clement Pappas and Company, Inc. ("CPC") private label products and to a decrease in selling and administrative expenses, partly offset by an unfavourable impact on the Company's cost of sales of lower production volumes in Canada. Operating profit for the first six months of 2014 stood at $36.2 million, up $2.9 million from $33.3 million at the end of the first six months of 2013.

The Company's financial expenses went from $4.6 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $4.1 million this quarter. This decrease was mostly attributable to a $1.6 million decrease in interest expense arising from a change in the interest rates applicable to CPC's term loan as of July 2013 and a reduction in indebtedness. This decrease was partly offset by a less favourable change in the fair value of the financial liability related to retractable financial instruments. A $0.4 million decrease in this liability was recognized in the second quarter of 2014 whereas a $1.6 million decrease had been reported in the second quarter of 2013. For the first six months, financial expenses went from $11.0 million in 2013 to $9.4 million this fiscal year.

"Other (gains) losses" went from a $0.8 million gain in the second quarter of 2013 to a $0.9 million loss in 2014. The 2013 second-quarter gain was mainly due to $0.5 million in foreign exchange gains and to a $0.2 million gain related to a change in the fair value of interest rate swaps. The $0.9 million loss in the second quarter of 2014 was mainly due to $0.4 million in foreign exchange losses and to a $0.4 million loss related to a settlement at fair value of a derivative financial instrument. For the first six months, the "Other (gains) losses" item was a $0.3 million gain in 2014 compared to a $1.0 million gain in 2013.

Profit before income taxes totalled $16.9 million for the second quarter of 2014, up $1.3 million from $15.6 million in the same quarter of 2013. For the first six months of 2014, profit before income taxes stood at $27.1 million, up $3.7 million from $23.4 million in the first six months of 2013.

An income tax expense at an effective rate of 28.6% (23.7% in 2013) brought the 2014 second-quarter profit to $12.0 million, up $0.1 million from $11.9 million in the same quarter last year. Profit attributable to the Company's shareholders was $11.2 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $1.61 for the second quarter of 2014. In the second quarter of 2013, profit attributable to the Company's shareholders had totalled $11.4 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $1.63. For the first six months of 2014, profit attributable to the Company's shareholders totalled $18.3 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $2.62 and, in the same six-month period of 2013, profit had totalled $17.2 million, resulting in basic and diluted earnings per share of $2.47.

Cash flows from operating activities generated $1.6 million in cash during the second quarter of 2014, while they had generated $38.1 million in cash during the same period last year. Financing and investing activities used $16.4 million and $4.2 million, respectively, in cash during the second quarter of 2014, whereas they had used $34.4 million and $9.3 million for the same period of fiscal 2013. At the end of the second quarter of 2014, the Company reported a cash and cash equivalents balance of $17.4 million and a bank overdraft of $12.2 million compared to a cash and cash equivalents balance of $1.3 million and a bank overdraft of $4.6 million at the end of the second quarter of 2013.

Outlook
Sluggish growth in demand for juice and fruit beverages is continuing to impact the sales volumes of North American producers in this sector. Increased competition in the Canadian market has an impact on prices as well as on sales volumes of the Company's national brands. Moreover, Lassonde Industries Inc. is not seeing any signs that competitive activity will diminish over the next two quarters. However, the Company believes that it will be able to maintain slight sales growth due to the strong performance of its private label products as well as to the favourable exchange impact from its U.S. dollar sales.

Lassonde Industries Inc. adjusted its method of operation and its level of spending to maintain its competitive position and to safeguard its profitability. It also acquired Apple & Eve, LLC to increase its North American market presence for national brands. The Company expects this acquisition to have significant impact on its activities. To help measure this impact, it should be remembered that Apple & Eve, LLC recorded sales of approximately US$180 million for the 12-month period ending May 31, 2014 and an adjusted EBITDA of approximately US$15 million.

Barring any major external shocks and excluding future sales from Apple & Eve, LLC, the Company remains optimistic about its ability to slightly increase its consolidated sales in 2014 compared to those of 2013.

About Lassonde Industries Inc.
Lassonde Industries Inc. is a North American leader in the development, manufacture and sale of a wide range of ready-to-drink fruit and vegetable juices and drinks marketed under brands such as Everfresh, Fairlee, Flavür, Fruité, Graves, Oasis and Rougemont.

Lassonde is also the second largest producer of store brand fruit juices and drinks in the United States and a major producer of cranberry sauces.

Lassonde also develops, manufactures and markets specialty food products under brands such as Antico and Canton. The Company imports and markets selected wines from various countries and manufactures apple ciders and wine-based beverages.

The Company produces superior quality products through the efforts of over 2,000 people working in 14 plants across Canada and the United States. To learn more, visit www.lassonde.com.

SEDAR registration number: 00002099

Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements

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 except as required by law.

SOURCE Lassonde Industries Inc.

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