Bigger avocado harvest helps Calavo 4Q results

Associated Press

SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) -- Calavo Growers' net income soared 72 percent in its fiscal fourth quarter, buoyed by a bigger avocado harvest in California.

The avocado and fresh produce provider earned $6.2 million, or 42 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 31. That's up from $3.6 million, or 25 cents per share, a year ago.

Calavo said that this was the highest quarterly net income in company history.

The performance beat the 41 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Chairman, President and CEO Lee Cole said in a statement that the larger avocado harvest in California resulted in the company packing almost 900,000 more cartons of fruit in the fourth quarter than a year ago.

Revenue dropped 4 percent to $141.6 million from $147.3 million, hurt by lower prices for fresh avocados.

For the year, Calavo Growers Inc. earned $17.1 million, or $1.15 per share. In the previous year the company earned $11.1 million, or 75 cents per share.

Annual revenue increased 6 percent to $551.1 million from $522.5 million.

Going forward, Cole said that he is confident Calavo will report record earnings results in fiscal 2013. Cole said his optimism was warranted in part because early estimates for the 2013 avocado supply are that it will be at least 1.65 billion pounds. That compares with about 1.4 billion pounds in 2012 and 1.1 billion pounds in 2011.

Cole also expects tomatoes will be sold at higher prices.

The stock added 1 cent to $25.27 in morning trading on Thursday.