Ontario-based Canada Bread has announced its UK subsidiary, speciality bread and bagel manufacturer, Maple Leaf Bakery UK has seen a drop in earnings for the first quarter to 31 March, 2009.

The decline has been put down to “a lower margin product mix” due to the more pronounced affect of the recession in the UK, and also “increased promotional costs to restore volumes reduced earnings,” according to a statement released by Canada Bread.

Maple Leaf Bakery is part of Canada Bread’s Frozen Bakery division, alongside its North American operations. Its Frozen Bakery division saw an overall sales increase of 3.1% to C$150.1m compared to C$145.6m for the same period last year. The increase was mainly driven by price increase in North America last year. Adjusted operating earnings rose to C$8.5m compared to C$6.9m for the comparable period last year.

The firm’s Fresh Bakery division’s first quarter sales’ increased 10.9% to C$263.0m. Adjusted operating earnings stood at C$12.8m.

“In line with the trend experienced late in 2008, the first quarter of 2009 continued to demonstrate a return to more stable and improved earnings, although margins were impacted by a decline in the Canadian dollar and its effect on wheat costs,” said Richard Lan, president and CEO of Canada Bread.

Total sales for the first quarter increased 7.9% to C$413.1m compared to C$382.9m in the same period last year.

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