03/02/2018 01:42 EST | Updated 03/02/2018 02:00 EST

George Weston's Q4 net profit plunges 66% as a result of special items

TORONTO — George Weston Ltd.'s profit in the fourth quarter was cut by two-thirds as a result of special items including the cost of a $25 Loblaw Card program launched in compensation for the company's involvement in a price-fixing scheme.

The Toronto-based food processing and grocery company says net income attributable to common shareholders of the company dropped to $28 million or 22 cents per share.

That was down 65.9 per cent from $82 million or 64 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Excluding certain items, George Weston's adjusted net earnings available to common shareholders were up by $24 million to $228 million, or $1.78 per common share.

Last year's fourth quarter included issuing $25 Loblaw Cards to consumers to compensate for manipulating the cost of bread contrary to the Competition Act. The cards reduced fourth-quarter profit by $39 million or 30 cents per share.

The quarter also included a number of other one-time items, both positive and negative, including $75 million or 58 cents per share related to a merging of the Loblaw and Shoppers Drug Mart loyalty points programs.

Sales were down one per cent to $11.4 billion from $11.5 billion.


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