Limoneira ended its 2020-21 fiscal year on a strong note, with growing revenue and shrinking losses in the fourth quarter, the Santa Paula-based agribusiness announced Jan. 10.
Limoneira — a grower and seller of lemons, avocados and other fruits and also a real estate developer — generated $33.5 million in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2020-21, up 12% from the same quarter of 2020.
The company surpassed analysts’ expectations with the revenue mark, as Zacks’ Consensus Estimate had projected revenue of $27.6 million.
Limoneira lessened its net loss as well, going from a loss of $7.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2020, or 43 cents per share, to a loss of $4.6 million in 2021, or 28 cents per share. Analysts expected a loss of 26 cents per share, according to Zacks, so Limoneira did miss expectations there.
Limoneira’s earnings report was issued after the markets closed on Jan. 10. The company’s stock closed at $15.98, up 1.7% from the previous day, and dropped to around $15.50 in after-hours trading.
For the full year, Limoneira reported revenue of $166 million, up from $164 million in 2020, while cutting its net losses from $17.9 million in 2020 to $3.9 million in 2021.
“COVID-19 affected logistics and different channels of revenue, but even with these challenges we achieved strong fresh lemon utilization in fiscal year 2021,” Limoneira CEO Harold Edwardssaid during the company’s earnings call.
Fresh lemon sales accounted for $7.8 million of the company’s agribusiness revenue during the fourth quarter of 2021.
This was down from the fourth quarter of 2020, but prices for fresh lemons were up. Limoneira sold approximately 390,000 cartons of fresh packed lemons at an average price per carton of $20 in the fourth quarter of 2021. In the same period a year before, the company sold nearly 596,000 cartons but at an average price of just $19.23.
The lower volume of lemon sales was due to supply chain issues as well as timing of the harvest, Edwards said. Limoneira expects crop insurance compensation for some of these losses in the first quarter of 2022.
“We are not back to our pre-COVID growth trajectory, but we are getting closer and believe that momentum in our business and expanding brokerage business will attract more third party growers,” Edwards said.
Limoneira also doubled sales in its brokered fruit segment in the fourth quarter of 2021, as the company generated $17.4 million compared to $8.1 million in the same period a year ago.
Brokered fruit is packed fruit for resale where Limoneira is the principal in the transaction, according to the company press release. Approximately 941,000 cartons of brokered fruit were sold during the fourth quarter at an $18.44 average price per carton, compared to approximately 449,000 cartons sold at an $18.13 average price per carton.
Harvest at Limoneira, the company’s real estate development project in Santa Paula, has closed sales of 586 residential units through the fourth quarter of 2021. That concludes the sale of lots in phase 1 development, and the company is now focused on selling 554 lots in phase 2.
“We expect to begin receiving cash distributions this year from Harvest at Limoneira and fully expect to generate $80 million of cash distributions over the next five years,” Edwards said.
For the year, Limoneira generated agribusiness revenue worth $161 million. The company ended fiscal year 2021 with $439 million in cash and cash equivalents.