February 21st, 2024

Agropur brings down debt load to target level as earnings rise

By The Canadian Press on February 7, 2024.

The Agropur logo is seen on a carton of milk in Montreal on Tuesday, June 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

LONGUEUIL, Que. – The Agropur dairy co-operative has reduced its debt load to its target levels, after hitting a peak during the pandemic.

The Montreal-area-based dairy processor is reporting debt amounting to 2.4 times its earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and amortization for the fiscal year ended. Oct. 28.

In 2019, Agropur appointed CEO Émile Cordeau to the top job to lower the tides of red ink that resulted from a series of acquisitions in the 2010s.

The debt ratio climbed to a high of 8.3 times in April 2020 before falling to its current level, the first time in years the target ratio of between two and three times was achieved.

Agropur says net earnings rose five per cent to $133.9 million last year from $127.2 million in 2022, while revenue decreased three per cent to $8.21 billion from $8.48 billion.

The co-operative also says it will pay $50 million to its 3,000-plus members across Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada in the form of rebates and the repurchase of shares and debt securities, a nearly 25 per cent increase from 2022.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 7, 2024.

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