Fresh Del Monte Produce net falls in year

by Staff
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CORAL GABLES, FLA. — Income for Fresh Del Monte Produce for the year ended Jan. 1 fell 9% to $143.9 million, equal to $2.26 per share, which compared with income of $157.7 million, or $2.49 per share, during the previous year. Sales for the year were $3,496.4 million, down slightly from $3,531 million during fiscal 2008.

Fourth-quarter income, meanwhile, was $28.2 million, or 44c per share, up 23% from 22.9 million, or 36c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $872.1 million, up 5% from $831 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

The company said the increase in fourth-quarter sales was driven by improved performance in the company’s gold pineapple and fresh-cut product lines along with higher net sales in the company’s banana business segment.

“We delivered a solid fourth quarter, particularly in the face of a prolonged economic slowdown which affected profitability in our Europe and Asia banana businesses,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our performance was driven by strong sales in our gold pineapple and fresh-cut product lines. Moving forward, our primary objectives for 2010 are to continue expanding our core product lines, controlling costs, and maintaining our commitment to increase shareholder value over the long term.”

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