UPDATE 2-Maple Leaf Foods profit beats estimates

Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:32am EDT

* Adjusted EPS 0.18 versus analyst forecast $0.17

* Revenue tops estimates

* Plans to continue price increases

TORONTO, April 28 (Reuters) - Maple Leaf Foods Inc (MFI.TO) posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday as the Canadian food processor passed on rising raw material costs to its customers.

The company, which sells products such as meat and bread under various brands from Schneiders to Dempster's, saw prepared meat margins rise with the implementation of price increases, it said.

But higher prices also resulted in some volume declines.

With food inflation continuing this year, Maple Leaf plans to keep raising prices.

First-quarter earnings fell to C$10.5 million ($11.1 million), or 7 Canadian cents a share, from C$19.9 million, or 13 Canadian cents a share.

Excluding special items, earnings rose to 18 Canadian cents a share. Analysts on average had forecast 17 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell 4 percent to C$1.15 billion, beating the analysts' average estimate of C$1.14 billion.

Sales at the meat products group, Maple Leaf's biggest segment, fell 7 percent to C$718.2 million, largely due to the sale of the company's Burlington primary pork processing unit in November. ($1=$0.95 Canadian) (Reporting by S. John Tilak, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Lisa Von Ahn)

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