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Calavo Posts Gain in Revenue

September 10, 2003|Jerry Hirsch | Times Staff Writer

Calavo Growers Inc., the Santa Ana avocado packer, reported Tuesday a small increase in sales and essentially flat earnings for the fiscal third quarter.

Calavo said net income rose to $3.2 million for the quarter ended July 31, from $3.1 million in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose 6.5% to $81.4 million from a year earlier, setting a new high for the company.

The company posted earnings per share of 25 cents for the quarter, down a penny from the previous year. The decline resulted from a 9% increase in outstanding shares.

All three segments of Calavo's operations -- avocado sales, exports and processed avocado products such as packaged guacamole -- posted third-quarter sales increases and contributed to the record revenue, said Lee E. Cole, the company's chief executive.

Japan has turned into a particularly strong market, reflecting the pairing of avocado with sushi and the growing acceptance of the fruit there.

Sales of California avocados, the company's biggest market segment, rose 1.6% to $67.9 million in the quarter compared with a year earlier. Calavo said higher average selling prices were partially offset by a decline in pounds of avocados delivered by growers because of a smaller overall harvest for the 2002-03 season.

Cole said in a statement that the fourth quarter of this year "will continue to witness a lower volume of California avocado production offset by firm pricing."

Last week, Calavo Growers announced a deal to purchase Maui Fresh International Inc., an exotic fruit and vegetable packer based in Anaheim, for $4.5 million in stock.

Calavo released its earnings after the close of the market. Earlier in the day its shares rose 1 cent to $6.95 on Nasdaq.

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