The EBITDA of the Grocery Products Sector increased by approximately $1 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 in comparison to the same quarter last fiscal year. This increase is mainly attributable to lower operating costs more than offsetting the effect of lower sales volumes as compared to the corresponding quarter last fiscal year.
Depreciation and amortization for the quarter ended March 31, 2013 totalled $35.6 million, an increase of $8.9 million compared to $26.7 million for the same quarter last fiscal year. The increase is mainly due to the inclusion of Morningstar's results for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013.
In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013, the Company incurred acquisition costs for the Morningstar Acquisition, totalling $9.6 million ($6.1 million after tax), as well as restructuring costs in relation to plant closures in Europe and Canada totalling $32.6 million ($22.6 million after tax). In connection with this restructuring, the Company has incurred $7.8 million in severance costs, $2.8 million in other closure costs, $21.7 million in impairment charges to property, plant and equipment, and $0.3 million in impairment charges to goodwill. In the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, the Company recorded an impairment of goodwill in the amount of $125.0 million ($125.0 million after tax) for the Grocery Products Sector.
Net interest expense increased to $14.9 million compared to $5.2 million for the corresponding period last fiscal year. The increase is mainly attributed to a higher level of debt resulting from the Morningstar Acquisition, as compared to the same quarter last fiscal year.
With respect to income taxes, the effective tax rate for the current quarter was 27.9% compared to 27.6% for the same quarter last fiscal year, excluding acquisition and restructuring costs in fiscal 2013 and impairment of goodwill in fiscal 2012. The income tax rate varies and could increase or decrease based on the amount of taxable income derived and from which source, any amendments to tax laws and income tax rates and changes in assumptions and estimates used for tax assets and liabilities by the Company and its affiliates.
Net earnings amounted to $100.5 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, an increase of $103.1 million compared to the net loss of $2.6 million for the same quarter last fiscal year. This is due to the factors mentioned above.
Adjusted net earnings(1) amounted to $129.2 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2013, an increase of $6.8 million compared to the same quarter last fiscal year. This increase is due to the factors mentioned above, without considering acquisition, restructuring and impairment costs.
During the quarter, the Company added approximately $82 million in property, plant and equipment, issued shares for a cash consideration of $12.5 million as part of the stock option plan, purchased share capital for $58.2 million in accordance with the Company's normal course issuer bid and paid out $41.3 million in dividends to its shareholders. For the same quarter, the Company generated net cash from operating activities of $160.1 million, a slight decrease from the $162.4 million generated for the corresponding period last fiscal year.
(1) Adjusted net earnings is a non-IFRS measure and represents net earnings without considering acquisition, restructuring and impairment costs. Refer to "Measurements not in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards" on page 7 of the Management's Discussion and Analysis, included in the Company's 2013 Annual Report, for the definition of this term.