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On March 4, 2009, Darling International ( DAR ), a provider of rendering, recycling, and recovery solutions to the food industry, reported that it swung to a loss during Q4 FY08 due to lower revenue, higher energy prices and goodwill impairment charges. Net loss stood at $13.97 million or $0.17 per share compared to a profit of $14.37 million or $0.18 per share a year ago. Excluding a goodwill impairment charge, net loss was $3.70 million or $0.04 per share. The most recent consensus estimate was earnings of $0.11 per share.

Net sales fell 15.4% to $148.45 million from $175.46 million a year ago, hurt by lower finished product prices, reduced purchases of finished product for resale and decreased raw material volume. Segment-wise, Rendering revenue fell 12.8% to $112.23 million from $128.64 million in the comparable quarter of last year, due to higher finished goods prices. Revenue from the Restaurant Services segment decreased 22.6% to $36.23 million from $46.81 million. Meat and bone meal prices dipped 3.4% to $261.56 per ton from $270.77 per ton a year earlier. The price of bleachable fancy tallow plunged 42.7% to $17.59 per hundredweight (cwt) from $30.68 per cwt, while the yellow grease price was $14.76 per cwt, a decline of 37.1% from $23.45 per cwt in prior years' quarter.

Cost of sales and operating expenses inched up 1.5% to $129.37 million, while selling, general and administrative expenses dropped 6.7% to $15.71 million. Moreover, the company recorded a goodwill impairment charge of $15.91 million during the latest fourth quarter.

Darling International recently completed the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Boca Industries. Boca Industries provides grease trap services to restaurants and food service establishments in Georgia and surrounding states.

Net sales for FY08 grew 25.1% to $807.49 million from $645.31 million in the previous year, driven by higher finished product prices. Accordingly, earnings increased 19.8% to $54.56 million or $0.66 per share from $45.53 million or $0.56 per share.

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