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Vancouver-based Rogers Sugar profits soar as strike continues

Manufacturer's balance sheet swung to profit from a loss in the year that workers went on strike
Rogers Sugar Inc. says increased sales stemmed from higher volumes sold, and higher prices

In the quarter that workers at Vancouver-based manufacturer Rogers Sugar Inc. (TSX:RSI) went on strike, the company saw stellar sales and profit.

Rogers Sugar generated $11.876 million in profit in the three-month period that ended Sept. 30, two days after the strike began. That compares with a $45.502 million loss in the same quarter one year ago. 

That result follows a trend that has been evident all year. In the full year that ended Sept. 30, Rogers Sugar made $51.789 million in net income, or profit. That compares with a $16.568 million loss in the year that ended Oct. 1, 2022. 

Strong sales have fueled the bottom-line turnaround. 

Rogers Sugar raked in more than $308 million in revenue in what it calls its fourth quarter, ended Sept. 30.  That is up from more than $267.4 million in the same quarter a year ago. 

For the full year that ended Sept. 30, Rogers Sugar generated nearly $1.105 billion in sales, up from more than $1.006 billion in sales in the same 12 months that ended in 2022. 

The company said the rise in sales stemmed from more sugar sold as well as higher prices for sugar. It acknowledged that the strike has cut into production. 

"Since the beginning of the strike, the Vancouver sugar refinery, which represents approximately 17 per cent of our production of refined sugar, has been operating at approximately a third of its capacity," the company said in its corporate filing. "We have been using some of the production of our Taber facility to support our customers in Western Canada."

The strike in Vancouver has caused sugar shortages in stores, frustrating bakers

The company last week said it has applied to the British Columbia Labour Relations Board for mediation to help it reach a new collective agreement with the 138 workers who are on strike. 

"Management remains committed in reaching an agreement that is acceptable to both parties," Rogers Sugar said in commentary that accompanied today's earnings report. 

"The current labour disruption at our Vancouver refinery is expected to negatively impact our 2024 financial results, the extent of which is not yet known."

The union which represents the Rogers Sugar workers, Public and Private Workers of Canada Local 8, has said that sticking points in getting a new contract have been wages, benefits and the company's proposal to increase refinery operations to 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.