Land O'Lakes, Inc. reported first-quarter 2009 net earnings of $82.7 million, up 35% from the first quarter of 2008 ($61.3 million). Net sales for the quarter were $2.9 billion, down from $3.3 billion for the same quarter one year ago.
Land O’Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer Chris Policinski said the company’s first-quarter results reflect the strength and diversity of Land O’Lakes core businesses, as well as the strength and stability of the company’s balance sheet.
Policinski noted, however, that a combination of soft commodity markets and the impact of economic uncertainty on consumer and producer purchasing decisions continue to present challenges in most of the company’s businesses.
In response, he said, the company has intensified its focus on cost control, risk management and product mix adjustment.
He also indicated brand strength and long-standing customer relationships provide important advantages in dealing with current economic conditions.
For the quarter, the company reported Total EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) of $112.8 million, compared with $109.3 million for the first quarter of 2008.
Land O’Lakes reported $5.3 million in pretax earnings in Feed for the quarter, down from $9.4 million for the first quarter of 2008.
Feed sales for the quarter totalled $894 million, down from $942 million one year ago.
Company officials cited market conditions and economic stress, particularly in the livestock and dairy markets, among the factors affecting 2009 performance, as producers reduced volumes and shifted from fully formulated branded feeds to lower value feeds.
From a volume perspective, Livestock feed volume was down 14% versus one year ago, Lifestyle feed was up 2%, Milk Replacers were up 5% and Feed Ingredients were flat versus one year ago.