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Fresh Del Monte Turns To Breakeven In Q4, Despite Lower Sales; Misses Estimates

Fresh Del Monte Turns To Breakeven In Q4, Despite Lower Sales; Misses Estimates
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Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (FDP: Quote), a holding company for producing fruit and vegetables, Tuesday reported breakeven results attributable for the fourth-quarter, compared to loss last year. Lower expenses impacted the quarter, while sales were hurt by weak Europe and Asia performance. Quarterly results, however, missed analysts' estimates.

In its recently concluded fourth quarter, the company's net loss was $1.2 million, narrower than last year's loss of $10.9 million.

Net result attributable to Fresh Del Monte was breakeven, compared with attributable net loss of $10.1 million or $0.17 per share. Excluding asset impairment and other charges and credits, net profit was $0.2 million, compared with last year's loss of $8.9 million or $0.15 per share.

On average, three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.07 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Quarterly net sales dropped to $776.9 million from $780.8 million in the prior-year quarter, while analysts were looking for revenues of $787 million.

The Cayman Islands-based company attributed the decline in revenues mainly to lower net sales in the banana business segment, partially offset by increased net sales in other fresh produce business segment.

Banana segment's net sales decreased 6 percent primarily due to lower sales volume in Northern Europe and in secondary markets in the Middle East, partially offset by higher sales volume in the North America market. Worldwide pricing increased 2 percent to $13.41 per unit, while volume was 7 percent lower.

Prepared Food's net sales dropped 2 percent. Net sales of other fresh produce, however, increased 6 percent, largely attributable to higher sales in the fresh-cut, melon and pineapple product lines, despite lower tomato sales.

Gross profit for the quarter climbed to $38.5 million from $30.9 million last year, attributable to an increase in logistics efficiencies, which primarily impacted the company's banana business segment, and higher sales in other fresh produce business segment, partially offset by unfavorable exchange rates.

For fiscal 2012, attributable net income was $143.2 million or $2.46 per share, compared with $92.5 million or $1.56 per share in 2011. Adjusted net income was $147.4 million or $2.54 per share in 2012, higher than $107.4 million or $1.82 per share a year ago.

Annual net sales decreased to $3.42 billion from $3.59 billion in the prior year mainly due to lower banana net sales, the result of lower sales volume in Northern Europe and in secondary markets in the Middle East.

Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and chief executive officer, said, "We are pleased to report a very solid performance for 2012, with a significant increase in profitability. Throughout the year, we continued to build long-term shareholder value through new and innovative delivery channels, increasing our global brand awareness, with a disciplined focus on cost-reduction and efficiency improvements across our organization."

Fresh Del Monte shares closed Friday's trading at $27.31, up $0.06 or 0.22 percent.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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