“Our third quarter 2012 results demonstrate the successful execution of our business strategy to increase our fresh and canned food sales to local Chinese markets,” said Guan Lianyun, Chairman and CEO of Green Star. “We are also making progress towards developing and marketing our own brand of canned products for local and export consumers. With our significant cash balance of $9.4 Million, and our average quarterly net income of approximately $2.0 Million, we are introducing a dividend policy starting in 2013 of distributing $0.01 per share, per quarter ($0.04 per share annually) to our common shareholders. We also remain on track and committed to investing in future expansion plans which include the long term leasing of additional agricultural lands as demonstrated by the 30 year lease of mandarin orange orchards and bamboo plantations in Q3, that expanded our land lease holdings by 63.6%, and the planned acquisition of a raw tomato pulp producer to secure our own raw tomato pulp supply.”
Q3 2012 Operational and Financial Highlights
Review of Financial Results
Green Star reported its consolidated revenue of approximately $8.5 million for Q3 2012, down approximately 11.4% from $9.6 million for Q3 2011. The revenue decline is the combined effect of the overall decrease in selling prices and sales quantity for canned products caused by market demand fluctuation and a slight decrease of sales quantity in agricultural produce.
On a nine month basis, the Company generated consolidated revenue of approximately $24.5 million to September 30, 2012, up 0.4% from approximately $24.4 million to September 30, 2011. The revenue growth on a nine-month basis was a combined result of increased sales of canned bamboo shoots and lower sales of other canned products within the canned food division in 2012, as well as slightly higher average selling prices.
Gross profit declined to $3.1 million in Q3 2012 from $3.8 million in Q3 2011, a decline of 18.3%. Gross profit as a percentage of sales declined to 36.8% in Q3 2012, compared to 40% for Q3 2011, with improvements for the agricultural produce division and a decline for the canned foods division. The agricultural produce division’s gross profit improved to 69% in Q3 2012 compared to 65% in Q3 2011 and was the result of a fluctuation of labor and land maintenance costs. The canned food division’s gross profit margin declined to 31.9% in Q3 2012 compared to 36.3% in Q3 2011, a reflection of the combined effects of lower selling prices and the lowering of economies of scale due to reduced production quantities.
For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2012, gross profit increased to approximately $10.2 million from $9.5 million for the comparative period in 2011, an increase of 6.9%.
Green Star generated net profits of approximately $2.0 million in Q3 2012, down 12.5% from $2.2 million in Q3 2011. The Company’s basic and diluted earnings per share were $0.13 and $0.06 respectively in Q3 2012, compared to $0.15 and 0.07 respectively in Q3 2011. On a year-to-date basis, Green Star generated net profits of approximately $6.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 compared to net profits of $4.7 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, which included approximately $1.2 million of IPO costs.
At September 30, 2012, Green Star held cash of approximately $9.4 million and working capital of $21.8 million compared to $7.6 million and $20.4 million, respectively, as at December 31, 2011. The increase in both cash and working capital was a result of improved operating results.
Appointment of Directors, Audit Committee Chair, and Manager of Business Development
On November 27, 2012, Green Star’s board of directors made the following appointments (subject to TSXV approval): 1) to appoint Mr. Bryan Knebel and Mr. Frank Galati as two new independent directors of the Corporation; 2) to appoint Mr. Robert G. Macdonald as the Business Development Manager of Green Star on a part-time basis. Mr. Robert G. Macdonald has joined Green Star to guide its Canadian business development strategy in Canada and communicate same to Canadian investors and the public markets; 3) to replace Mr. Ye HuoYun on the Company’s audit committee and appoint Mr. Bryan Knebel as Chairman of the Audit Committee. Mr. Michael Newman has stepped down as the Chairman of Green Star’s audit committee but remains as one of its four independent directors.
Mr. Bryan Knebel was for the past 8 years the Chief Financial Officer of The Skor Food Group Inc. (acquired in 2011 by Group Colabor) and prior to that Chief Financial Officer of Lombardi Media Corporation and several other TSX-Venture listed public companies over a span of 15 years. Mr. Knebel started his financial career with the Toronto-Dominion Bank in commercial banking. He has extensive knowledge and experience in developing internal and external growth strategies together with arranging debt and equity financing of growth oriented TSX-Venture listed public companies.
Mr. Frank Galati was President and Chief Executive Officer of Destination Products International Ltd., a spin-off of Cott Corporation and a company focused on the marketing and distribution of frozen and fresh meal solutions to the North American Grocery and Mass Merchandising channels. The company increased revenues from $12 million to over $100 million and was named one of Canada’s Fifty Best Managed Companies by The Financial Post. Prior to that, Frank held several senior financial roles with Cott Corporation and Maple Leaf Foods, including CFO of Cott’s US business, a subsidiary with revenue in excess of $1 billion and CFO for Maple Leaf Foods Grocery Division, a company with over $300 million in revenue in canned and frozen food products. Today, Mr. Galati is Managing Partner of Bedford Group’s resource practice, advising resource companies on talent and leadership issues; and has sat on various advisory boards to food and health supplement companies focused on growth in US and Canadian markets.
Mr. Robert G. Macdonald was the Founder, President and CEO of TSX listed Afton Food Group Ltd. (“Afton”) for sixteen years, a company established as a franchising consolidator in the Quick Service Restaurant industry with such brands as 241 Pizza and Robin`s Donuts. Afton grew from a standing start to more than $150 million in system sales and $25 million in annual revenues and was listed on the TSX. At the present time, Mr. Macdonald is the Chairman and Managing Director of AgriFood Capital Corporation, an emerging private company that is involved in investment banking in the food and agricultural industries in Canada. Mr. Macdonald has also served on the board of directors and audit committees of several other TSX.V listed companies.
“In spite of softening demand in China, we continue to achieve strong financial results and look forward to buildings on that success in the next term,” said Mr. Guan, CEO. “Also, with the additional farming land lease agreements signed in the third quarter of 2012, we are increasing our land base by 63.6% effective January 1, 2013 which will immediately positively impact our agricultural produce revenues commencing fiscal 2013.”
About Green Star
Green Star operates two main divisions, agricultural and food processing. The agricultural division is involved in the cultivation and harvesting of agricultural products such as fresh fruit and vegetables, for sale either directly as fresh fruit and vegetables or canned, and sold overseas and domestically. The food processing division is primarily involved in the manufacturing of canned food which includes canned tomato paste, canned boiled bamboo shoots, canned oranges, canned peaches and various other types of fruits and vegetables. Currently, all of the Corporation’s canned tomato paste is exported to countries such as Russia, Lebanon, Dubai, Philippines, Germany, Romania and several African countries. 30% of the canned tomato paste is exported directly to end customers, while the balance of 70% is exported to ultimate customers through exporting agents.
The Company has been operating for over 18 years, and has focused on maintaining product and reputational excellence and a high standard of food quality, through the application of science and technology in production, quality control and assurance, business operations and management. Key assets include a well established management team, modern production facilities, and a close partnership with local farmers.
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