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Merged Viterra posts $96M in Q4 earnings

Viterra — the combined Saskatchewan Wheat Pool and Agricore United —
today reported net earnings of $96.01 million (57 cents per basic
share) during its fourth quarter ended July 31, up from $13.49 million or (15 cents per share) during the same quarter a year ago.

“It has been three months since we began operations as a
combined company,” said Viterra CEO Mayo Schmidt.
“During this time we completed a number of country asset
divestitures (and) two port terminal divestitures and refinanced much
of (the company’s) pre-existing debt.”

SaskPool, he said, has been working diligently to integrate
the operations of Agricore United to build Canada’s leading

Under generally accepted accounting principles, periods
prior to the Pool’s acquisition of AU exclude the consolidated results of
AU and its subsidiaries. Thus, the results released today only include two months of earnings attributed to
AU for the period following the official acquisition on May

Moreover, the quarterly results posted today are for the fourth of five quarters in the new company’s 2007 fiscal. Viterra recently announced it has changed its
financial year-end from July 31 to October 31 to better align its
reporting period with its business cycle. Viterra’s
fiscal 2007 reporting period will thus be a 15-month year ending
October 31, and the results reported represent the fourth
quarter and 12-month periods ending July 31.

    Highlights include:

  • Consolidated sales and other operating revenues climbed
    $799.1 million to $1.4 billion for Q4, up from
    $601.1 million in the year-earlier period. The year-to-date
    consolidated sales and other operating revenues of $2.6 billion
    improved by $1.0 billion over the same 12-month period of the
    prior year.
  • Consolidated EBITDA for the fourth quarter was $149.7
    million up from $52.9 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal
    2006. For the 12 months ended July 31, consolidated
    EBITDA was $202.0 million compared to $77.9 million for the same
    period last year. Included in the current quarter and
    year-to-date results is $74.3 million of EBITDA contributed by AU
    for June and July.
  • Year-to-date net earnings from continuing operations for
    the first twelve months of fiscal 2007 were $108.0 million versus
    a net loss from continuing operations of $6.8 million last year.
  • Shipments and margins in the company’s grain handling and marketing
    segment were up over the prior year, contributing to EBITDA of
    $109.2 million, a $52.0 million increase over the same period
    last year. Grain margins per tonne for the 12 months ending
    July 31 increased to $23.56 per tonne, compared to $20.09
    per tonne in 2006, an increase of 17.3 per cent over the prior year.
    Shipments during this period improved by 2.3 million tonnes,
    which included 2.0 million tonnes from AU in the most recent
  • Sales and other revenue from the agri-products segment were
    $810.6 million for the 12-month period ending July 31,
    which includes sales of $588.3 million for the fourth quarter of
    the year. This compares to $539.0 million in the same
    twelve-month period last year ($340.0 million in the fourth
    quarter of 2006). Improved margins in this segment, which Viterra reported to be the result of a
    particularly strong recovery in crop nutrition margins over the
    prior year, contributed to an increase in EBITDA of $70.0 million
    for the quarter and $81.2 million for the 12-month period.
    Total agri-products EBITDA for the 12-month period was $106.9
    million, which includes $45.6 million attributable to AU in the

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