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Buhler revenue up a tick

AGRICULTURAL equipment manufacturer Buhler Industries Inc. reported revenue of $76.7 million for the first quarter ending Dec. 31, 2012 up marginally from last year.

Net profit was $3.3 million, up from $2.4 million a year ago, and earnings per share were 13 cents compared to nine cents last year.

In a release, the company said it remains cautiously optimistic about being able to repeat last year's sales record.

Higher commodity prices continue to drive demand for agricultural equipment as customers upgrade their equipment.

Commodity prices are projected to remain high as the world population continues to grow and the middle class in emerging markets changes its consumption patterns.

Buhler shares closed down nine cents on Wednesday to $6.16.

Big profit boost for Winpak

PLASTIC packaging manufacturer Winpak Ltd. has reported a double-digit increase in profit for 2012.

The Winnipeg-based firm released its fourth-quarter and year-end financial numbers on Wednesday, and they showed net earnings for the year increased by 13.5 per cent to $72.4 million, or $1.11 per share, from $63.8 million, or 98 cents per share in 2011.

For the fourth quarter alone, earnings attributable to common shareholders grew by 20.8 per cent to $22.3 million, or 34 cents per share, from $18.5 million, or 28 cents during the same period a year earlier.

The company attributed the 2012 earnings improvement to a combination of factors, including higher sales, better gross profit margins and a lower income tax rate.

It said revenues for the year grew by $18 million, or 2.8 per cent, to $670.1 million. The fourth-quarter increase was one per cent -- $173.2 million versus $171.5 million.

Winpak, which has nine production plants in Canada and the United States, manufactures machines and plastic materials for the packaging of perishable foods, beverages and for health-care applications. Its shares (TSX:WPK) closed up four cents to $17.29 on Wednesday.

Allstream's profit steady

WINNIPEG -- Regional telecom MTS Allstream (TSX:MBT) reported Wednesday a net profit of $37 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, almost unchanged from $36.9 million in 2011.

Revenues in the fourth quarter were down six per cent to $413.1 million from $439 million in the same quarter of 2011.

Earnings per share were down a penny to 55 cents year-over-year.

The Winnipeg-based company says for fiscal 2012 it had revenues of $1.7 billion, down 3.5 per cent in 2012, mostly due to a decline in revenue from older technology and voice services.

Net profit was higher at $175.4 million, compared with $167.1 million in 2011.

Earnings per share for fiscal 2012 were $2.63, up 3.1 per cent in 2012, mostly attributable to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization and a lower income tax expense.

MTS Allstream said it had $33.6 million in annual cost savings, the eighth consecutive year in which the company achieved its target.

For fiscal 2013, the company expects revenues to be $1.63 billion to $1.73 billion and earnings per share to be $1.75 to $2.15.

The company's Manitoba Telecom Services Inc. division said its wireless-data revenues were up 29.7 per cent to $116.3 million for fiscal 2012.

Revenue for its Internet protocol TV services were up 11.2 per cent, or $78.5 million, year-over-year.

And high-speed Internet revenues were up 8.4 per cent or $110.1 million, in 2012.

In the Allstream business division, revenues for Internet protocol services were $243.6 million, up 1.6 per cent, for fiscal 2012.

-- staff / The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 14, 2013 A18

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