UPDATE 2-Canadian dairy Saputo posts bigger profit, hikes dividend

Tue Aug 5, 2014 11:37am EDT

(Adds details on dividend increase, stock split)

Aug 5 (Reuters) - Saputo Inc, Canada's largest dairy producer, reported higher quarterly earnings on Tuesday, lifted by recent acquisitions.

The Montreal-based company also increased its quarterly dividend by 13 percent to 26 Canadian cents from 23 Canadian cents and announced a two-for-one stock split.

For Saputo's first quarter through June 30, net income rose to C$145.3 million ($133.3 million), or 73 Canadian cents a share, from C$136.7 million, or 69 Canadian cents, a year earlier.

Revenue during the quarter jumped nearly 21 percent to C$2.6 billion, bolstered by Saputo's February acquisition of a majority control of Australia's Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Factory Company Holdings Ltd.

Saputo's shares gained 2.1 percent to C$68.96 in morning trading in Toronto, touching a record high.

The company, known for its Dairyland milk and 1/2 Moon cakes, said its April purchase of the Atlantic Canada fluid-milk business of Scotsburn Cooperative Services Ltd also lifted revenues and earnings.

Analysts had expected Saputo to earn 77 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$2.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

($1=$1.09 Canadian) (By Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Bernadette Baum and Peter Galloway)

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