Tomato, avocado markets boost Calavo results

03/06/2013 06:38:00 PM
Mike Hornick

Calavo GrowersRising sales of fresh avocados and tomatoes contributed to revenues of $139.5 million at Calavo Growers Inc., a first-quarter record for the company.

That was up 19% from $117.4 million in the prior year, Santa Paula, Calif.-based Calavo reported for the three months ending Jan. 31. Gross margin also set a first-quarter record for the grower-shipper, up from $11.9 million to $13.1 million.

But a 31% rise in net income was wiped away by a $1.2 million consideration expense for Calavo’s 2011 acquisition of Renaissance Food Group LLC. Net income was unchanged at $2.7 million.

“In the short run, (that) reduces net income,” chief executive officer Lee Cole said in a news release. “However, (Renaissance) is exceeding our expectations and making a solid incremental contribution to the company’s results.”

“Based upon initial indicators, I have every confidence that Calavo will post record net income and per-share results in fiscal 2013,” he said.

A rise in Mexico’s avocado crop estimate from 1.4 billion pounds a year ago to 1.65 billion pounds coincides with the completed expansion of Calavo’s Uruapan, Michoacan, plant and is one reason for the optimism.

For the quarter, Renaissance Food Group, Fresh and Calavo Foods — the company’s business segments — all reported higher revenues.

“We sold 36% more cartons of fresh avocados quarter over quarter — about 22 million pounds — reflective of the steady rise in demand,” Cole said in the release. “In line with expectations, we saw a sharp recovery in fresh tomato volume and pricing over last year’s market glut.”

Tomato unit sales rose 132%, lifting the fresh segment 20% to $85.1 million. Much higher fresh avocado volume dropped prices there. Total fresh sales were up 40% to 1.3 million units.

Calavo Foods revenues rose 6% to $11.9 million.

Renaissance Food Group revenues were up 22% to $42.5 million. Calavo attributes the rise to increased sales of cut fruits and vegetables, plus deli products.



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