Fresh Del Monte Produce income up 13% in quarter

by Staff
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CORAL GABLES, FLA. — Income for Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. during the first quarter increased 13% on lower tax and interest expense.

For the quarter ended March 30, the company had income of $62.5 million, equal to $1.08 per share on the common stock, which compared with income of $55.2 million, or 94c per share, during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the quarter were $897.9 million, down 8% from $974 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

“We made good strategic progress during the first quarter of 2012 while achieving solid earnings results for our shareholders,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer. “Our business was favorably impacted by our long-term initiative of assuming control of the sales and marketing function for Southern Europe and by improvements in our logistics structure. Additionally, we saw continued growth in our fresh-cut produce business and continued expansion of our operations internationally to bring our products closer to end consumers. Despite these advances, our decisions to protect our margins resulted in lower net sales in our tomato and melon product lines and in our banana business in Northern Europe. However, with our emphasis on focused process and efficiency improvement and a strong balance sheet, we are confident we are on the right tract to build long-term value.”

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