Filing Reveals Tops' Q1 Profit

Tops Friendly Markets here posted net income of $11.96 million in the 16-week first quarter that ended April 24, the company said in a federal filing made in connection with a new debt offering. The profits which came after an income-tax benefit of $13.34 million and adjustments related to the value of the acquisition of Penn Traffic reversed a year-ago loss of $2.94 million, the

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. — Tops Friendly Markets [4] here posted net income of $11.96 million in the 16-week first quarter that ended April 24, the company said in a federal filing made in connection with a new debt offering.

The profits — which came after an income-tax benefit of $13.34 million and adjustments related to the value of the acquisition of Penn Traffic — reversed a year-ago loss of $2.94 million, the company said. The operating loss for the first quarter of the current year was $2.88 million, vs. operating income of $9.08 million in the year-ago period.

Sales in the recent quarter — including revenues from the acquired Penn Traffic locations, effective Jan. 29 — were $665 million in the quarter, compared with $505.76 million in the year-ago period. The recent sales figure also includes $33 million from 24 stores that have since been closed, sold or liquidated.

In the $85 million acquisition, the company picked up 79 Quality, P&C and Bi-Lo [5] stores from Penn Traffic, which was in bankruptcy, and retained 55 of those. Seven of those 55 are still under federal antitrust review. (See Page 10 for more on the company's efforts to convert the acquired locations to the Tops banner.)

The company operated 126 locations generating average weekly sales (excluding gasoline) of $416,527 at the end of the first quarter, the filing showed. That compares with 71 stores with average weekly sales of $419,274 at the end of the year-ago period. Identical-store sales excluding gas were down 0.7% for the most recent quarter, which the company said was primarily due to deflation.

The filing also revealed that Tops bought about 60% of its product from C&S Wholesale Grocers [6], Keene, N.H., in fiscal 2009, and 62% in the first quarter of this year.

“As a result of the acquisition, we expect this percentage to increase as C&S supplied the majority of Penn Traffic's grocery, frozen and perishable requirements,” Tops said.

The company has a contract with C&S until Sept. 24, 2016.

In the current debt offering, Tops is seeking to exchange $350 million in high-yield bonds due 2015 for previously issued notes. The new offering would allow the company's owners to repay the debt by selling stock, or to cash out on their own investment, according to reports.

Currently, the company is 71.6% owned by funds associated with Morgan Stanley Private Equity and 19.9% owned by affiliates of HSBC Private Equity Advisors.

MSPE acquired Tops from longtime parent company Ahold, based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, for $310 million in 2007, and named Frank Curci chief executive officer. Curci, who remains CEO, also has a small ownership stake in Tops.