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Rogers Sugar Inc.: Fourth Quarter 2012 Results

- Free Cash Flow Higher by $1.3 Million for the Quarter and by $13.9 Million for the Year Over the Comparable Periods of Fiscal 2011.

MONTREAL, QUEBEC -- (Marketwire) -- 11/21/12 --

Message to Shareholders: On behalf of the Board of Directors, I am pleased to present the highlights of the financial results of Rogers Sugar Inc. (TSX:RSI) (the "Company") for the three months and year ended September 29, 2012.

Results for the fourth quarter and fiscal years 2012 and 2011 are as follows:


                                                                            
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      For the three months ended          For the year ended
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      September 29     October 1  September 29     October 1
                              2012          2011          2012          2011
                       (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)
(In metric tonnes)                                                          
Volume                     164,539       170,880       641,573       649,078
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(In thousands of                                                            
 dollars)                                                                   
Gross margin           $    18,077   $    33,507   $    77,861   $    96,849
Expenses:                                                                   
  Administration and                                                        
   selling                   4,625         5,396        18,923        20,005
  Distribution               2,380         2,432         8,334         7,960
Results from                                                                
 operating                                                                  
 activities ("EBIT")        11,072        25,679        50,604        68,884
Net finance costs            2,451         3,385         9,695        15,361
Income tax expense           1,677         5,763        10,648        11,669
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net earnings           $     6,944   $    16,531   $    30,261   $    41,854
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            

Fourth quarter volume decreased by approximately 6,400 metric tonnes compared to the same quarter of fiscal 2011. Both industrial and consumer volumes were lower in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012 by approximately 6,200 and 2,200 metric tonnes, respectively. Industrial volume was lower due to the loss of a major contract at the start of the calendar year and to the transfer of production of some sugar containing products outside of Canada. The decrease in consumer volume was due mainly to timing in deliveries. This was partially offset with higher export sales of approximately 1,800 metric tonnes and to higher liquid volume of approximately 200 metric tonnes during the quarter, due to additional shipments to existing customers.

For the year, total sales volume of 641,573 metric tonnes represented a decrease of 1.2% over the previous year. The total volume decrease of approximately 7,500 metric tonnes is due mainly to lower industrial volume of approximately 34,600 metric tonnes and lower consumer volume of approximately 3,700 metric tonnes, partially offset by higher export volume of approximately 29,900 metric tonnes and higher liquid volume of approximately 800 metric tonnes.

The increase in export sales volume of approximately 29,900 metric tonnes in fiscal 2012 was due mainly to a special refined sugar quota of 136,078 metric tonnes opened, effective October 3, 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, of which 25,000 metric tonnes was allocated directly to Canada and the balance of 111,078 metric tonnes to global suppliers on a first-come, first-served basis. The Company through its cane refineries was able to enter approximately 10,000 metric tonnes against the global quota by the time it closed on October 25, 2011. An additional volume of approximately 17,600 metric tonnes of beet sugar was entered against the Canada specific quota by the date the quota closed on November 30, 2011. In addition export sales volume to Mexico and other destinations was slightly higher than the previous year.

The liquid volume increase of approximately 800 metric tonnes in fiscal 2012 is due mainly to some recovery of HFCS substitutable business. Industrial volume was lower by approximately 34,600 metric tonnes during the year due mainly to competitive activity in that segment and to the transfer of production of sugar containing products to non-Canadian plants by certain customers. Consumer volume was lower by approximately 3,700 metric tonnes due in large part to the decrease in retail volume by certain customers and timing in customers' retail promotions.

With the mark-to-market of all derivative financial instruments and embedded derivatives in non-financial instruments at the end of each reporting period, the Company's operating results could have large fluctuations. This accounting income does not represent a complete understanding of factors and trends affecting the business. We therefore prepared adjusted gross margin and adjusted earnings results to reflect the performance of the Company during the reporting period, which are non-GAAP measures. This adjusted performance is comparable to the adjusted earnings reported in previous interim reports. In this press release we will discuss adjusted gross margins which reflect the operating income without the impact of the mark-to-market of derivative financial instruments and embedded derivatives in non-financial instruments.


                                                                            
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Gain / (Loss)       For the three months ended            For the year ended
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                    September 29     October 1   September 29      October 1
(In thousands of            2012          2011           2012           2011
 dollars)            (unaudited)   (unaudited)    (unaudited)    (unaudited)
Mark-to-market                                                              
 adjustment         $    (3,776)   $     3,532   $   (14,243)   $    20,278 
Cumulative timing                                                           
 differences                157          4,489       (10,088)        (7,104)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Total adjustment                                                            
 to cost of sales   $    (3,619)   $     8,021   $   (24,331)   $    13,174 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            

Gains or losses on these instruments are only recognized by the Company when sugar contracts are delivered to the end user or when natural gas has been used in the operations.

During the quarter, a mark-to-market loss of $1.9 million was recorded on sugar futures, as world raw sugar values decreased slightly from June 2012 levels. This resulted in a year-to-date mark-to-market loss of $5.6 million. For natural gas, a mark-to-market gain of $1.0 million was recorded for the quarter as natural gas prices increased, however a mark-to-market loss of $3.6 million was recorded for the year as natural gas prices were mainly lower during the year. Foreign exchange forward contracts and embedded derivatives on which foreign exchange movements have an impact had a combined mark-to-market loss of $2.9 million for the quarter and of $5.0 million for the year as a result of the movement of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar.

The cumulative timing differences are as a result of mark-to-market gains or losses which are recognized by the Company only when sugar is sold to a customer and when natural gas is used. The gains or losses on the sugar and related foreign exchange paper transactions are largely offset by corresponding gains or losses from the physical transactions being the sale and purchase contracts with customers and suppliers. The year end adjustment is the total of all quarterly results. This adjustment is added to the mark-to-market results to arrive at the total adjustment to cost of sales. For fiscal 2012 the consolidated operating results will increase by the total cost of sales adjustment loss of $24.3 million, while fiscal 2011 consolidated operating results will decrease by the cost of sales adjustment gain of $13.2 million to arrive at the adjusted operating results of these two years.

The Company also recorded a mark-to-market gain of $0.2 million for the quarter as compared to a loss of $0.5 million in fiscal 2011 for an interest swap. For the year a gain of $2.1 million was recorded as opposed to a gain of $0.9 million for fiscal 2011 as interest rates continued to decline during the year. In addition, under IFRS, the conversion feature in the convertible debentures, while the Company was operating under the income trust structure for the period of October 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010, is an embedded derivative. This derivative was fair valued at the opening and the closing of that reporting period and the net change in the fair value between each reporting period of $3.8 million was recorded as an expense in fiscal 2011.

Total adjustment to net earnings before income taxes and free cash flow for the quarter was a loss of $3.4 million compared to a gain of $7.6 million in fiscal 2011 and a loss of $22.2 million for the year compared to a gain of $10.2 million in fiscal 2011.

Adjusted financial information is as follows:


                                                                            
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      For the three months ended          For the year ended
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      September 29     October 1  September 29     October 1
(In thousands of              2012          2011          2012          2011
 dollars)              (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)
Gross margin as per                                                         
 above                 $   18,077    $   33,507    $   77,861    $   96,849 
Adjustment as per                                                           
 above                      3,619        (8,021)       24,331       (13,174)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adjusted gross                                                              
 margin                    21,696        25,486       102,192        83,675 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
EBIT as per above          11,072        25,679        50,604        68,884 
Adjustment as per                                                           
 above                      3,619        (8,021)       24,331       (13,174)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adjusted EBIT              14,691        17,658        74,935        55,710 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Net earnings as per                                                         
 above                      6,944        16,531        30,261        41,854 
Adjustment to cost                                                          
 of sales as per                                                            
 above                      3,619        (8,021)       24,331       (13,174)
Adjustment for mark-                                                        
 to-market interest                                                         
 rate swap                   (211)          467        (2,119)         (855)
Adjustment for IFRS                                                         
 transition on                                                              
 option of                                                                  
 convertible                                                                
 debentures                     -             -             -         3,782 
Deferred taxes on                                                           
 above                       (570)        1,943        (5,448)        3,595 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Adjusted net                                                                
 earnings              $    9,782    $   10,920    $   47,025    $   35,202 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            

For the quarter adjusted gross margin decreased by $3.8 million. The adjusted gross margin rate was $131.86 per metric tonne as compared to $149.15 per metric tonne in fiscal 2011. The decrease of $17.29 per metric tonne was due mainly to an adjustment of approximately $2.6 million, or approximately $15.20 per metric tonne, recorded in the last quarter of fiscal 2011, as a reduction to depreciation expense, following a review of all property, plant and equipment which resulted in the extension of their useful lives. Without this adjustment the adjusted gross margin rate would have been approximately $2.09 lower due mainly to the lower consumer volume, which has a negative impact on the overall adjusted gross margin rate.

Year-to-date the adjusted gross margin rate of $159.28 is $30.37 higher than the previous year. The increase is due mainly to the sales mix with higher margin export sales and lower industrial sales volume at a lower margin. In addition in fiscal 2011 large premiums were paid for some of the raw sugar supply bought during the year which had a negative impact on adjusted gross margin. Normally, most raw cane sugar requirements are sourced in advance under long term contracts but in fiscal 2011 some of these long term contracts were ending and therefore some volume had to be sourced on a prompt basis, in a period when raw sugar supply was very tight. As a result, significant premiums were paid on approximately 20% of the raw sugar purchased in fiscal 2011.

The significant increase in the adjusted gross margin resulted in a record EBIT for the year of $74.9 million, $19.2 million more than fiscal 2011.

Distribution costs were comparable to the last quarter of fiscal 2011, but higher by approximately $0.4 million year-to-date due to additional shipments to the U.S. Administration costs were lower by approximately $0.8 million compared to the same quarter in fiscal 2011 due mainly to lower legal, doubtful accounts and incentive provision expenses. Year-to-date administration expenses were lower by approximately $1.1 million due mainly to lower pension expenses and to lower legal and consultant fees for the year.

Finance costs for the quarter were $0.9 million lower than the comparable quarter of fiscal 2011, due to a decrease of $0.2 million as a result of lower borrowings and to a swing of $0.7 million in the mark-to-market of the interest swap which had an income of $0.2 million in fiscal 2012 versus a loss of $0.5 million in fiscal 2011. Year-to-date finance costs are lower by $5.7 million due mainly to lower interest on convertible debentures of approximately $0.9 million, to a mark-to-market gain of approximately $2.1 million versus $0.9 million in fiscal 2011 for the interest swap and to a loss, in fiscal 2011, of $3.8 million on the option of the convertible debentures partially offset with costs incurred on the write-off of deferred financing cost of approximately $0.8 million.

The reduction in interest costs on the convertible debentures is due to the redemption of the third series 5.9% convertible debentures of $77.1 million in the first quarter of the year, replaced with the fifth series 5.75% convertible debentures of $60.0 million. The lower value of the convertible debentures and lower interest rate reduced total convertible debentures finance costs for the year. With the redemption of the third series, unamortized deferred financing costs of approximately $0.8 million were expensed in fiscal 2012.

Year-to-date a mark-to-market unrealized gain on the swap of $2.1 million was recorded in fiscal 2012 as opposed to a gain of $0.9 million in fiscal 2011, the increase due mainly to the passage of time of the interest swap which expires in June 2013.

Under IFRS, the conversion feature in the convertible debentures, while we were operating under the income trust structure for the period of October 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010, is an embedded derivative. This derivative was fair valued at the opening and the closing of that reporting period and the net change in the fair value between each reporting period of $3.8 million was recorded as an expense in the first quarter of fiscal 2011.

In order to provide additional information the Company measures free cash flow that is generated from operations. Free cash flow is defined as cash flow from operations excluding changes in non-cash working capital, mark-to-market and derivative timing adjustments, financial instruments non-cash amount, funds received or paid from the issue or purchase of shares and investment capital expenditures. Free cash flow is not intended to be representative of cash flows or results of operations determined in accordance with GAAP. It may also not be comparable to similar measures used by other companies.

Free cash flow is as follows for the quarter and year-to-date:


                                                                            
                                                                            
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
(In thousands of                                                            
 dollars)             For the three months ended          For the year ended
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                      September 29     October 1  September 29     October 1
                              2012          2011          2012          2011
                       (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)   (unaudited)
Operating                                                                   
 activities:                                                                
Cash flow from                                                              
 operating                                                                  
 activities            $   22,747    $   42,389    $   47,793    $   22,915 
Adjustments:                                                                
  Changes in non-                                                           
   cash working                                                             
   capital                (11,596)      (23,550)      (14,417)       35,697 
  Changes in non-                                                           
   cash income taxes                                                        
   payable                   (389)       (2,658)        5,113        (8,689)
  Changes in non-                                                           
   cash interest                                                            
   payable                 (1,566)       (2,204)          315           350 
  Mark-to-market and                                                        
   derivative timing                                                        
   adjustments              3,408        (7,554)       22,212       (10,247)
  Financial                                                                 
   instruments non-                                                         
   cash amount                170         5,075         1,699         5,636 
  Capital                                                                   
   expenditures            (4,699)       (4,317)       (9,183)       (8,128)
  Investment capital                                                        
   expenditures               372            15           694           175 
  Net issue (buy                                                            
   back) of                                                                 
   securities                  90             -           352           275 
  Deferred financing                                                        
   charges                      -             -        (2,716)            - 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Free cash flow         $    8,537    $    7,196    $   51,862    $   37,984 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Declared                                                                    
 dividends/cash                                                             
 distributions         $    8,469    $    7,551    $   32,915    $   32,714 
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            

Free cash flow for the quarter was $1.3 million higher than the comparable quarter in fiscal 2011, due mainly to the timing of cash pension contributions versus last year. Year-to-date free cash flow was $13.9 million higher than the previous year. The increase is due mainly to the increase in adjusted results from operating activities of $19.2 million. This was partially offset with the payment of deferred financing charges of $2.7 million on the issuance of the fifth series debentures, the higher pension cash contributions and capital investments made during the year.

Quarterly dividends were increased to 9 cents per share effective May 2, 2012. For the first two quarters of fiscal 2012 and the last three quarters of fiscal 2011, quarterly dividends of 8.5 cents per share were paid. For the first quarter of fiscal 2011, a quarterly distribution of 11.5 cents per unit was paid under the income trust structure.

OUTLOOK

In fiscal 2012, approximately 30,000 metric tonnes of industrial and liquid volume was lost following the negotiation of key customer contracts in December 2011 and to the transfer of sugar containing products to non-Canadian plants by certain customers. As most large customers' contract negotiations were concluded by the time the Company was notified of this loss, such volume could not be replaced in fiscal 2012. However, the Company has already contracted additional volume with existing and new accounts for fiscal 2013, as winning back domestic volume remains a high priority.

With the current U.S. and Mexico crop outlooks it would appear that no special U.S. quotas will open in fiscal 2013 and therefore export sales could be significantly lower in fiscal 2013. However, to provide additional and more stable export sales, the Company will continue to investigate other export opportunities similar to those developed several years ago in Mexico.

While the total sweetener market decreased slightly this past year, we believe this trend will not continue over the next number of years as the market should revert to a small percentage increase, in-line with the population increase. The reduction in fiscal 2012 was more a reflection of some manufacturing of sugar related products moving out of Canada. In addition the price of corn has reached new highs in the last number of months. This could have a positive impact as some HFCS substitutable business may switch to liquid sucrose if high corn prices prevail and if raw sugar values continue to decrease.

The harvest and beet slicing campaign in Taber began in the second half of September. Early indications are favourable as the yield per acre harvested and the extraction rate achieved to date are above forecast. Taber's beet crop acreage, currently being harvested, is approximately 30,500 acres. If current harvesting conditions continue, we should derive approximately 105,000 tonnes of beet sugar for fiscal 2013. This volume will be higher than the combined sales forecast for the domestic market normally supplied from Taber and for the export sales under the U.S. Canada specific quota and to Mexico. If other export or domestic opportunities do not occur, Taber will have to warehouse some beet sugar until next year. This would increase total distribution costs.

Less than half of fiscal 2013's natural gas requirements have been hedged at average prices comparable to those realized in fiscal 2012. Any un-hedged volume should benefit from the current low prices of natural gas and therefore increase the adjusted gross margin rate. In addition, futures positions for fiscal 2014 to 2015 have been taken. Some of these positions are at prices higher than the current market values, but are at the same or better levels than those achieved in fiscal 2012. We will continue to monitor natural gas market dynamics with the objective of minimizing natural gas costs.

In the current financial environment, return on pension plan assets may vary from historical plan performance. This, combined with the discount rate used in assessing the plan liabilities, may impact pension plan expenses in future years. Pension cash contributions were increased following this year's actuarial valuations and may increase in the future, as and when new actuarial valuations are done.


                         FOR THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS,                        
                                                                            
                                   Signed                                   
                                                                            
                              A. Stuart Belkin                              
               Vancouver, British Columbia - November 21, 2012              

Contacts:
Mr. Dan Lafrance
SVP Finance, CFO and Secretary
(514) 940-4350
(514) 527-1610 (FAX)
www.lantic.ca

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