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Limoneira quadruples last year's Q3 earnings

By   /   Monday, September 13th, 2010  /   Comments Off on Limoneira quadruples last year's Q3 earnings

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Limoneira Co.’s third-quarter earnings soared on higher sales of its agricultural products, including a 208 percent jump in its avocado revenues.

The Santa Paula-based lemon and avocado grower saw its third-quarter earnings grow by 300 percent over the same quarter last year, to $4.8 million or 43 cents per share, the firm reported Sept. 13. Company-wide revenues jumped 71 percent to $22.2 million, compared to $13 million in the third quarter of last year. The growth was fueled primarily by Limoneira’s agribusiness operations.

The company’s agricultural revenue was up 75 percent to $21.2 million, an increase driven by higher revenue in all varieties of its crops. Avocado sales soared from $2.5 million in 2009 to $7.7 million this year. Lemon sales increased to $10.7 million from $8 million last year on both higher volumes and prices.

Limoneira’s real estate rental revenue also inched up, from $913,000 in the third quarter of 2009 to $964,000 most recently.

“We are excited by the positive momentum in our overall business,” Limoneira President and CEO Harold Edwards said in an earnings release. “We delivered strong third quarter financial results across the board — we achieved double-digit revenue growth, triple-digit operating income growth and triple-digit net income growth and strong cash flow from operations.”

He highlighted Limoneira’s recent decision to ditch Sunkist Growers and market and brand its own lemons. “This will enable us to improve efficiencies throughout our distribution channels and further establish the global recognition of the Limoneira brand,” Edwards said.

Limoneira, one of the largest lemon producers in North America, is also a real estate company, with $62.3 million in real estate development assets at the end of the third quarter. The firm sold one of its residential properties — a luxury home in Arizona which had been on the market for years — for $2.8 million during the third quarter. The firm said it will use the proceeds to further ratchet debt on debt.

“As we begin the final quarter of fiscal 2010 and look towards next year, we will remain diligently focused on expanding our core agribusiness while taking advantage of opportunities to enhance the value of our real estate assets,” Edwards said.

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