PBT Transcript (4/30/2008)

MIKE ARMSTRONG: Coming up: Food prices are soaring around the world. We’ll tell you how that’s affecting an iconic Philadelphia company. The maker of Crystal Light drink powders and Sorbee sugar-free candies is sold to a NY private equity firm. And earnings reports are in for a lot of local companies. Who’s up and who’s down? It’s coming next on Philadelphia Business Today.

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MIKE ARMSTONG: Food riots around the globe. Rice rationing here in the U.S. Rising prices for milk and other staples. Food prices are way up and now the company behind Tastykakes is feeling the pain. Tasty Baking reported a net loss of $.12/share for its first quarter, compared with a profit of $.11 last year. The snack food maker is getting pinched by higher commodity prices, especially for sugar. That means Tastykakes are getting more expensive. The company raised prices on cake products in the first quarter and in this quarter? Get ready to pay more for doughnuts and pies.

Today’s a heavy day for corporate earnings and let’s give you a taste. Endo Pharmaceuticals reported flat earnings, $.44 for its first quarter vs. $.43. Net sales for the Chadd’s Ford maker of pain medication were 14% higher. ViroPharma saw flat sales of its only product, an antibiotic, but costs and expenses at the Exton firm nearly doubled in the quarter, causing earnings per share to fall nearly 29% to $.22 to $.31. And Auxilium of Malvern lost $.30/share in the quarter, compared with a loss of $.33 last year. Sales of its key product were higher, but the company is spending more on R&D to develop a new drug called Zeaflex.

The Philadelphia-based company Sorbee isn’t a household name, but the products it makes are. Crystal Light and Country Tyme Lemonade drink powders to name two. Today, Sorbee announced that it’s been bought by Werther Partners, a NY-based private equity firm. Werther’s founder is Dan Werther, a Phildelphian who spent many years working as a lawyer for billionaire Ron Perlman. The purchase price for Sorbee was not disclosed.

That’s it for today. At the Inquirer, I’m Mike Armstrong for Philadelphia Business Today.

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