Private brand beverage company Lassonde Industries reported 2020 annual sales were up 18% versus 2019, totaling $1.9 billion, and that profit attributable to shareholders for fiscal 2020 was up 35.9%.
Quebec-based Lassonde Industries operates the subsidiary Lassonde Pappas and Co., one of the largest producers of store brand shelf-stable fruit juices and drinks in the United States. Last fall, the subsidiary named Vincent Timpano its president and CEO. Timpano now will be promoted to president and chief operating officer of Lassonde Industries. He succeeds Jean Gattuso who will step down Sept. 30.
In his role overseeing Lassonde Pappas, he managed the subsidiary’s strategic growth and development in the United States — the group is the company’s largest manufacturing and sales subsidiary. Over the next six months, he’ll transition with the support of the corporation’s executive team.
"The choice of Mr. Timpano as successor was clear because of his leadership, his expertise in the area of consumer products, his success managing LPC and his alignment with our values. He will succeed Mr. Gattuso who, over the last 34 years with Lassonde, contributed exceptionally to the growth and expansion of the Corporation on both sides of the border. This transition between executive officers will ensure continuity of a proven business model," said Nathalie Lassonde, CEOfficer and vice chairman of the board of directors and Pierre-Paul Lassonde, chairman of the board of directors.
As far as the company’s 2020 sales growth, they are cautious. "Industry volumes as well as our sales increased significantly in 2020. While this is a significant progression, we believe it is too early to conclude that this is a sustainable phenomenon,” said Nathalie Lassonde. “We are particularly pleased with our improved profitability, which is the result of good performance in all our business units. Demand for our products remains strong and we are striving to meet this demand despite the constrained availability of labour due to the need to maintain a safe environment for all our employees in the context of the ongoing pandemic."
On Jan. 3, 2020, Lassonde Industries completed the acquisition of Sun-Rype Products for a cash consideration of $89.3 million and sales from the company added $175.4 million to its 2020 sales. Excluding those sales, and a $13.3 million favorable foreign exchange impact, Lassonde’s sales were up $113.9 million or 6.8% year over year. The increase was largely due to an increase in sales of private label products, per the company.
Lassonde, however, believes that a significant portion of this increase could be due to changes in food habits related to the impacts of COVID–19, as industry sales volumes have also benefited from a notable increase, it noted.
The company’s operating profit totaled $151.9 million, up $51.1 million from $100.8 million last year. During 2020, Sun-Rype posted $8.2 million in operating profit whereas in 2019, the Company had incurred $1.5 million in expenses related to the Sun-Rype acquisition. The 2020 profit totaled $101.9 million, up $27.0 million from $74.9 million in 2019.
For the fourth quarter reporting, private label sales again drove the increase in sales, the company said. Sales for the quarter totaled $515.1 million, up $83 million or 19.2% versus Q4 2019.