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New plant played role in losses for crop processor

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Startup costs associated with the launch of a new canola-seed crushing plant contributed to a hefty net loss last year for canola and specialty-crops processor Legumex Walker.

The Winnipeg-based firm said today it recorded a net loss of $25.4 million, or $1.56 per share, for the year. That included a loss of $7.1 million, or 44 cents per share, for the final three months of the year.

That compares with a net loss of $12.6 million, or 89 cents per share, for 2012, and a net loss of $5.4 million, or 34 cents a share, for the final three months of that year.

However, the company noted $17 million of 2013’s net loss was attributed to costs associated with the commissioning and initial commercialization of the Pacific Coast Canola (PCC) plant during the first nine months of the year.

Company president and CEO Joel Horn also noted that early in the year, the company realigned its specialty crops operations along three product lines to focus on specific markets and customers. And that helped propel the operations to a 48 per cent increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the year.

"With Special Crops operating at new levels of profitability and PCC poised to reach its full potential, we are well positioned for a very strong year in 2014," Horn added.

Legumex Walker, which was formed in July 2011 with the merger of Roy Legumex of St. Jean Baptiste and Walker Seeds of Tisdale, Sask., operates 15 processing facilities in the three Prairie provinces, the American Midwest and China. It also has an 84 per cent interest in Pacific Coast Canola, LLC, which operates the first and only commercial-scale canola oilseed processing plant west of the Rocky Mountains.

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