Shares of Santa Paula-based Limoneira Co. plunged 8.1 percent in mid-afternoon trading on Monday after the company reported a fourth-quarter loss of $1.1 million, compared to a $141,000 profit a year earlier. The loss was primarily the result of lower avocado volume and revenue, the firm said.
Total revenue for the quarter was $14.3 million, a 3.4 percent dip year-over-year. Avocado sales sank 63.6 percent to $1.2 million due to a shorter harvest. Lemon revenue grew 11.8 percent to $9.5 million after favorable market conditions raised the average price per carton.
Results for the full year ended Oct. 31 were much brighter, with net income reaching $4.9 million, a 55.7 percent increase over the previous year. Revenue jumped 29 percent to 84.9 million. Earnings per share ticked up 38.5 percent year-over-year to 36 cents.
“Fiscal year 2013 was another strong year for Limoneira,” President and CEO Harold Edwards said in a statement, pointing to the company’s “expanding agribusiness, including several accretive acquisitions that we have made over the past two years.”
Last year, the company purchased Associated Citrus Packers, a Yuma, Ariz.-based lemon grower, and Lemons 400 in Tulare County in a bid to become a year-round supplier of lemons. Looking to the first and second quarters of 2014, the company said it expects its acquisition of the lemon growers to boost sales and profits. However, avocados, which tend to alternate between higher- and lower-production years, will see lower volumes, with the company expecting to sell about 6 million pounds of the fruit. Prices for both lemons and avocados are expected to be higher in 2014 as industry-wide production falls, Limoneira said.
The company’s shares were trading down 8.1 percent to $25.18 on the Nasdaq at 2:05 p.m. in New York.[wikichart align=”left” ticker=”LMNR” showannotations=”true” livequote=”true” rollingdate=”6 months” width=”580″ height=”400″]