Santa Paula-based Limoneira Co. said fourth-quarter revenue jumped sharply but that it experienced a decline in profit because of expenses for Sheldon Ranch, a new 1,000-acre lemon and citrus leasehold that is expected to be profitable in 2013.
The company said it expects strong results from those lemon and citrus in 2013, when it also gets a right to subdivide its Windfall Farms property near Paso Robles into 76 parcels. It expects to complete annexation of its East Area 1 development into Santa Paula this year.
The company said Q4 revenue was $14.8 million, compared to revenue of $10.9 million in the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year, with agribusiness revenue up 39 percent. However, expenses were $14.3 million compared to $10 million a year earlier, thanks to higher selling expenses and the Sheldon Ranch costs. The company said that under its leasehold acquisition it will participate in Sheldon Ranch profits beginning in 2013.
Operating income for the fourth quarter was $458,000, or one cent per share, compared to $843,000, or three cents a share, a year earlier as the company in 2012 also wrote off the assets of a discontinued coffee venture. For the full year ended Oct. 31, Limoneira earned $2.9 million, or 26 cents per share, on revenue of $65.8 million compared to $1.3 million, or 12 cents per share, a year earlier on revenue of $52.5 million. Lemon sales increased 41 percent to $44.2 million.
CEO Harold Edwards said an increase of 20 percent in the common stock dividend underscored “our confidence in our business going forward.” He said the company expects 25 percent growth in lemon sales and as much as a 50 percent increase in avocado production in 2013, although avocado prices may be lower because of the increased crop.