Banana demand boosts Del Monte Fresh earnings

by Keith Nunes
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CORAL GABLES, FLA. — Increased demand for bananas boosted the earnings for Del Monte Fresh Produce during the first quarter of fiscal 2011. Net income in the quarter ended April 1 was $56 million, equal to 94c per share on the common stock, up 52% from $36.9 million, or 57c per share, in the first quarter of 2010.

Sales for the quarter were $974 million, up 3% from $943.1 million a year ago.

“I am pleased with our solid performance in the first quarter of 2011, which demonstrates our management’s ability to successfully navigate our business in today’s ever changing marketplace,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer. “We experienced increased global demand for Del Monte bananas during the quarter, and we worked hard to fill the demand during a period when adverse weather conditions tightened industry-wide production. At the same time, we continue to keep our company’s financials strong and operating structure lean in order to be ready to capitalize on new product and market opportunities.”

Gross profit within Del Monte Fresh Produce’s Banana division increased $33.1 million to $51.1 million during the quarter. Sales increased 6% to $427.6 million.

In the company’s Other Fresh Produce division, gross profit decreased by $11.5 million during the quarter to $55.1 million. Sales declined 1% to $452.5 million when compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2010.
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