George Weston’s outlook is bright

Article Excerpt

George Weston shares have risen 32.2% over the last six months, mainly because of improved performance at 62%-held Loblaw, Canada’s largest grocery-store operator. Weston has also sold off some of its other assets. It now has lots of cash — and lots of options for using it to the benefit of its shareholders. GEORGE WESTON LTD. $72.75 (Toronto symbol WN; Shares outstanding: 129.1 million; Market cap: $9.4 billion; SI Rating: Above Average; Dividend yield: 2.0%) operates through two divisions: Weston Foods operates 30 Canadian plants that make fresh and frozen baked goods. This division also operates eight U.S. plants that make frozen baked goods, as well as biscuits, cookies, ice-cream cones and wafers. As well, George Weston has a 62% interest in Loblaw Companies, Canada’s largest grocery-store operator and a leading seller of general merchandise, drugs and financial services. In the three months ended December 31, 2009, Weston’s revenue fell 6.4%, to $7.5 billion from $8.1 billion a year earlier. That’s because…

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