( File photo )

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., reports its 2018 acquisition of Mann Packing Co. led to higher sales in North America for the year.

The company’s volume of fresh-cut and whole vegetables quadrupled, and fresh-cut vegetables saw pricing decrease 21% and unit cost dropped 23%.

In a news release, Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and CEO of Fresh Del Monte, said the Mann Packing acquisition is a plus for the company.

“We're proud of how well the integration has gone during a year in which we faced a number of other challenges, including port delays, severe winter weather events and truck shortages in the U.S., along with higher operating costs,” Abu-Ghazaleh said in the release. “As we enter 2019, we continue to focus sharply on implementing our operating strategies, and taking aggressive action to transform our company to meet consumer demand for healthy and convenient food products.”

Net sales in 2018 were $4.49 billion, a 10% increase for 2017, which the company attributed to the Mann Packing acquisition.

Gross profit, however, dropped for the year and the fourth quarter, according to the company, attributing that to higher fruit and distribution costs in all business segments, and lower banana sales. Net losses were $21.9 million, compared to net income of $120.8 in 2017.

For the year, Fresh Del Monte’s net banana sales in 2018 were 1.70 billion, down from $1.76 billion in 2017. Lower volumes in the Middle East and Europe (and lower selling prices in Europe), led to a 7% drop in volume. Gross profit for banana sales was $84.1 million, compared to $113.4 million in 2017, according to the release.

Year-end financial results for other Del Monte Fresh items are:

  • Gold pineapples — Net sales down 1% to $487.9 million, volume up 2%, pricing down 3% and unit cost up 5%;
  • Fresh-cut fruit — Net sales up 3% to $510.6 million, volume up 2%, pricing up 1% and unit cost up 1%;
  • Fresh-cut vegetables — Net sales increased to $433.2 million, volume increased four-fold, pricing down 21% and unit cost was 23% lower;
  • Avocados — Net sales up 5% to $329.2 million, volume up 33%, pricing down 21% and unit cost was 23% lower; and
  • Vegetables — Net sales increased to $140.1 million, volume increased four fold pricing up 1% and unit cost dropped 7%.