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Menu Foods Making Progress After Massive Recall

Pet food maker says it is on the way to recovering from the impact of a series of major recalls last year, although on a smaller scale.

TORONTO (AP) -- Menu Foods Income Fund says its pet food business is on the way to recovering from the impact of a series of major recalls, although on a smaller scale.

The pet food maker said it lost it lost $2.2 million or 10.8 cents per unit for the three months ended March 31 compared with a loss of $17.5 million or 91.8 cents per unit a year ago.

Quarterly revenue was $55.6 million, down from $64.5 million.

Investors cheered the news as the fund's units closed up 12 cents or about nine per cent at $1.40 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

''We have made considerable progress and our prospects look better today than at any other time during this past year,'' president and chief executive Paul Henderson said in a statement.

''As we move the business forward, we do so focusing on our core competency -- the manufacture of high quality wet pet food. We will continue to work to solidify our customer base and further adjust our cost structure in line with our ongoing business.''

Last month, Menu Foods reached a ''comprehensive cross-border agreement in principle'' on litigation arising from its tainted pet food scandal.

The mediated settlement of the case, which combined an array of class-action suits filed in the United States, came just over a year after dog and cat owners were panicked by news that products from the maker of store-brand pet food had been tainted by Chinese-supplied wheat gluten laced with poisonous melamine.

More than 150 brands of pet food were recalled because of the contamination, which killed or sickened an unknown number of animals.

In the United States, dozens of cases against Menu and many of the companies that own the private labels were consolidated in a federal court in Camden, N.J.

The definitive terms of the deal, together with a motion for preliminary approval thereof are scheduled to be filed with the U.S. District Court on May 20, with a hearing scheduled on May 30.

The scheduling for Canadian court is expected to occur at roughly the same time.

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