Canada Bread’s frozen bakery division has seen profits fall almost 50% despite an overall increase in sales
for the year.

Its frozen bakery division, made up of its North American and UK frozen bakery businesses, including Maple Leaf Bakery UK, which owns the New York Bakery Co brand, saw adjusted operating earnings fall 48.6% to $21.1m, from $41.1m in 2007.

The company said these figures reflected the significant impact of higher commodity prices and production costs in 2008. Maple Leaf Bakery in Rotherham was also affected by higher production costs due to a new bagel oven commissioned to replace an oven destroyed by fire earlier in the year. According to the statement, these costs were partially offset by an $8.3m insurance payout in the fourth quarter.

However, sales in its frozen bakery division were up 8.3% for the year, despite Maple Leaf experiencing a decline in sales of its premium speciality bakery products.

Canada Bread’s overall sales for the fourth quarter rose 13.1%, and sales for the year increased by 12.9% to $1.7bn. The company said the rise reflects higher selling prices and contributions from acquisitions.

Richard Lan, president and CEO, said: “The recent decline in commodity prices, combined with price increases helped to restore margins in the fourth quarter.”

Canada Bread Company Limited is 89.8% owned by owned by Maple Leaf Foods Inc.