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Maple Leaf Foods Inc. MFI-T reported its first-quarter profit fell compared with a year ago even as its sales rose seven per cent as it dealt with COVID-19 and supply chain disruptions and higher costs.

Chief executive Michael McCain says the impact of the Omicron variant, including high levels of absenteeism, inflation, and supply chain disruptions, challenged the company in the quarter.

Maple Leaf says it earned $13.7-million or 11 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a profit of $47.7-million or 39 cents per share a year earlier.

Sales totalled $1.13-billion, up from $1.05-billion in the same quarter last year.

The increase came as sales in its meat protein group rose to $1.09-billion for the quarter compared with $1.01-billion a year earlier, while sales for its plant protein business climbed to $44.9-million from $42.6-million.

On an adjusted basis, Maple Leaf says it earned three cents per share for the quarter, down from an adjusted profit of 27 cents per share a year ago.

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