Fresh Del Monte income up 23% in quarter

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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CORAL GABLES, FLA. — For the first quarter ended March 28, Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. posted net income of $63.6 million, equal to $1.01 per share on the common stock, up 23% from income of $51.6 million, or 89c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year.

Sales for the quarter were $894.9 million, up 7% from $836 million during the same quarter of 2007. The increase in sales was a result of higher banana selling prices and industry-wide shortages.

"We are proud of our results in the first quarter of 2008, and we are encouraged by the progress we made in managing the exceptionally high costs that continue to affect our business," said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer. "These costs include the highest fuel and fertilizer prices in history and higher costs of packaging and labor. In spite of these challenges, our business is growing steadily and demand for our products is growing around the globe. We are firmly committed to our strategy of investing in markets that offer long-term growth opportunities. In the meantime, we are working to create greater efficiencies and control costs across our business. During the first quarter of 2008, we demonstrated that Fresh Del Monte is able to deliver solid financial results even in a tough market."

Gross profit in the bananas segment was $30.1 million, up 45% from $20.7 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Net sales in the segment were $340.1 million, up 18% from $287.8 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

Gross profit for the Other Fresh Produce segment was $53.1 million, down 18% from $64.4 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

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