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Calavo Growers’ fourth quarter earnings fall short

By   /   Tuesday, December 29th, 2015  /   Comments Off on Calavo Growers’ fourth quarter earnings fall short

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Santa Paula-based Calavo Growers missed analyst projections on its fourth-quarter earnings.

Calavo Growers, which is known for its avocado production, reported on Dec. 29 a profit of 28 cents per share, missing Wall Street’s projection of 46 cents per share. Calavo Growers stock ended the day at $49.51 per share, down $1.14.

The company posted a fourth-quarter net income of $4.8 million, which is up from a loss of $1.2 million for last year. Revenues rose to approximately $208 million, up from $200.7 million over the same period last year.

While the company missed its earnings per share estimates on the quarter, it set an all-time record for annual earnings per share, revenues and gross margins. For the year, the company reported net earnings of $27.2 million, or $1.57 per share. That was a drastic increase from $97,000 in 2014, or $0.01 per share, which took into account a revaluation of Renaissance Food Group — the company Calavo acquired in 2011. Revenue reached $856.8 million, up from $782.5 million last year, and gross margins hit $85.2 million, up from $71.2 million in 2014.

“Our avocado operations are poised for continued expansion, indicative of the upward consumption trends of an industry that is growing at a significant pace,” Chairman and CEO Lee E. Cole said in a prepared statement. “Total consumption is expected to reach 2.5 billion pounds in 2016 — a growth rate in excess of 20 percent.”

The price of avocados was lower than expected in the fourth quarter, Cole added. Calavo packed 22 percent more avocados in that quarter than in 2014, adjusting to the growing Hispanic population, the company said.

Smaller avocado growers throughout the Tri-Counties have struggled to maintain operations with the water cutbacks prompted by the drought.

Calavo’s shares have climbed 7 percent since the beginning of the year.

In related news, Oxnard-based Freska Produce International recently purchased the avocado packer Harvest Time Produce of Oceanside.

The move by Freska, which already has a Mexican avocado program, will allow the company known for mangoes to use the Oceanside packing plant to become a year-round provider of avocados.

• Contact Alex Kacik at [email protected]

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