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Herd Cutbacks Eat Into Ridley’s Q2

Winnipeg feed maker Ridley Inc. reports higher profit in the last three months of 2009, even as its feed sales drop due to cutbacks in Canada’s livestock herds.

The company reported net earnings of $5 million on gross revenue of $150 million for its second quarter ending Dec. 31, down from $700,000 on $163.6 million in the year-earlier period.

Total sales volumes in tonnes were down 4.8 per cent, mainly in Ridley’s Canadian feed operations where “poor producer profitability has led to reduced animal numbers,” the company said.

Big Sky Creditors Take Deal

Farmers and others owed money by Saskatchewan’s largest hog producer have approved a deal in which unsecured creditors, on average, can expect less than 15 cents on the dollar.

Out of 774 creditors of Big Sky Farms and affiliated companies meeting Feb. 8 in Saskatoon, 762 voted in favour of the plan put forward by the court-appointed monitor, Ernst and Young.

Secured and unsecured creditors, owed $35.18 million, will share a total pot of $4.82 million. The company has been in creditor protection since November and sold off its barns at Treherne, Man. in January.

BSE Suits Look To Merge

Lawyers behind two class-action suits pitting about 135,000 Canadian cattle producers against Ottawa over BSE will go to court in April to ask for one last merger.

Cameron Pallett, a Toronto lawyer for Ontario producer Bill Sauer, said Feb. 17 that counsel for Quebec cattleman Donald Berneche will appear in Quebec Superior Court in Montreal on April 19. There they’ll ask that Berneche’s suit be folded into Sauer’s.

Berneche’s and Sauer’s suits, certified as class actions in 2007 and 2009 respectively, are the last of four co-ordinated suits filed in 2005. The Ontario action now has producers in all provinces besides Quebec in its “class.”

Both suits allege negligence within government led to the costly closure of the U. S. border and other foreign ports to Canadian cattle and beef in 2003.

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