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MarketScreener Homepage  >  Equities  >  Toronto Stock Exchange  >  Maple Leaf Foods Inc.    MFI   CA5649051078

MAPLE LEAF FOODS INC.

(MFI)
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North America's hog farmers face prolonged pain as pandemic gives way to glut

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08/27/2020 | 01:22pm EDT
FILE PHOTO: Hog farm in Kenyon, Minnesota

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - North America's hog farmers face prolonged pain beyond the COVID-19 pandemic that has interrupted packing plants , as a pig glut in the United States holds prices low and pressures producers to downsize.

Many North American hogs had nowhere to go in spring as slaughter plants suspended production due to workers becoming infected with the novel coronavirus. While outbreaks among plant workers subsequently abated, infections recently flared in Maple Leaf Foods' Brandon, Manitoba plant.

Canadian farmers who produce piglets - also known as isoweans or weanlings - face some of the greatest pressure to downsize. Many sell to U.S. farms who then fatten piglets to slaughter weight levels, but prices have fallen well below costs.

In July, Manitoba farmer Rick Bergmann sold 500 piglets to a U.S. buyer for $2.50 per head, recouping only the transportation cost.

"There are producers asking, 'do we want to stay in business?' These are dark days," Bergmann, chair of the Canadian Pork Council, said.

The council asked the Canadian government for aid this month, citing massive losses for Western Canadian farmers and piglet producers especially.

U.S. buyers paid between $2.50 and $20 per Canadian isowean for the week ended Aug. 22, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, far below the roughly $40 cost to raise one.

"The weanling sector is the most volatile," said livestock and meat analyst Kevin Grier. "When things are good, they have the wildest high prices and returns, and when things are bad, it's just the opposite."

There is little optimism that bottom lines will improve.

Western Canada's hog prices are based on U.S. prices, which remain depressed, although they partly recovered this week.

U.S. farmers expanded too aggressively as new plants opened in recent years, resulting in more pigs being born than the industry could absorb, said Christine McCracken, animal protein analyst at Rabobank.

"Even before COVID, we had too many hogs," she said.

By Rod Nickel


Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
FEEDER CATTLE?FUTURES (GF) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 -0.47% 133.2 End-of-day quote.-8.12%
LIVE CATTLE (LE) - CMG (ELECTRONIC)/C1 0.05% 103.375 End-of-day quote.-17.12%
MAPLE LEAF FOODS INC. -0.12% 24.67 Delayed Quote.-4.68%
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Financials
Sales 2020 4 283 M 3 257 M 3 257 M
Net income 2020 125 M 95,0 M 95,0 M
Net Debt 2020 1 012 M 769 M 769 M
P/E ratio 2020 31,6x
Yield 2020 2,59%
Capitalization 3 034 M 2 308 M 2 307 M
EV / Sales 2020 0,94x
EV / Sales 2021 0,95x
Nbr of Employees 13 500
Free-Float 60,0%
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Mean consensus BUY
Number of Analysts 8
Average target price 35,56 CAD
Last Close Price 24,67 CAD
Spread / Highest target 82,4%
Spread / Average Target 44,2%
Spread / Lowest Target 9,44%
EPS Revisions
Managers
NameTitle
Michael H. McCain Co-President, CEO & Non-Independent Director
Curtis E. Frank Co-President & Chief Operating Officer
William Geoffrey Beattie Chairman
Geert Verellen Chief Financial Officer
Andreas Liris Chief Information Officer
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