November 14, 2012 / 9:36 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 2-Diamond Foods restatement wipes out $56.5 mln in profit

* Removes profit of $39.5 mln in 2011, $17 mln in 2010

* Reports net loss of $2.46/shr for first 3 quarters

* Shares down more than 17 percent in after-hours trade

By Martinne Geller

Nov 14 (Reuters) - Diamond Foods Inc on Wednesday restated financial results for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 erasing $56.5 million in profit, and it posted a net loss for the first three quarters of 2012, after an accounting scandal hurt its ability to do business.

Shares of the maker of Emerald snack nuts, Kettle Chips and Pop Secret popcorn fell more than 17 percent in after-hours trading following the long-awaited report.

Diamond had missed its deadline for restating its results and has been fighting for months to stay listed on the Nasdaq after its shares tumbled more than 80 percent following an accounting scandal that claimed the jobs of top executives and ruined its plan to buy Pringles potato chips.

That purchase, for more than $2 billion, would have made Diamond the world’s second-biggest snack food maker, behind PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay.

“The company regrets the extended time investors had to wait for financial reports during the restatement process,” said Diamond Chief Executive Brian Driscoll. “The company has emerged from this process with strengthened financial discipline and rigorous commitment to enhancing internal controls and remediating material weaknesses.”

Diamond also reported a net loss of $2.46 per share for the first three quarters - through April 30 - of fiscal 2012, versus a profit of $1.05 per share in the prior-year period.

Net sales totaled $757.4 million for that period, hurt by a 36.2 percent decrease in non-retail sales following a significant drop in walnut crop deliveries to Diamond in the fall of 2011, around the time that reports of possible improper accounting for walnut payments first surfaced.

“Clearly the results for the first three quarters of 2012 demonstrate that Diamond faced challenges,” Driscoll said.

Diamond also said two members of its board of directors were stepping down and that only one was being replaced, reducing the size of its board to 11 from 12.

Diamond’s restatement erased $39.5 million of income before taxes in 2011, reducing total earnings to $29.7 million. It erased $17 million of income in 2010, bringing the restated figure to $23.2 million.

For full-year 2012, Diamond said it expects net sales of $975 million to $980 million with adjusted operating earnings of $78 million to $81 million.

Diamond shares fell to $16.06 in after-hours trade from their close at $19.50.

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