Fresh Del Monte posts Q4 losses despite overall 2011 gain -

Fresh Del Monte posts Q4 losses despite overall 2011 gain

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Fresh Del Monte posts Q4 losses despite overall 2011 gain

Florida-based produce giant Fresh Del Monte saw its net loss increase 5% to US$10.1 million in the fourth quarter due to falling European consumer demand and increased fuel costs.

But overall its 2011 full year net income showed a 48% year-over- year increase to US$94.8 million, according to the company’s annual earnings report.

Chairman and chief executive Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh reported that results were good in the face of challenging conditions.

"Despite higher fuel costs worldwide and continued weakness in the European economy which negatively impacted consumer demand for fresh produce, we delivered full year 2011 results that were significantly higher than 2010."

Net sales for 2011 inched slightly to some US$3.590 billion, compared to US$3.553 billion in 2010 on increased banana and fresh produce sales. For the quarter sales declined 4.4% to US$ 780.8 million on underperformance in key markets and a lower selling price.

Bananas brought the company 46% of its sales and fresh produce 44%, while in terms of profits produce led with a 55% share of income, with bananas providing only 17%.

For the full year the fastest growing product was its melon category, which saw sales increase by 44% compared to the previous year. Its main category, bananas, saw a 4% increase in sales in 2011 compared to the previous year.

Despite gains in sales for the year, the company’s financial performance has continued to disappoint analysts, with its earnings falling short of estimates for five of the last eight quarters, according to financial newswire Reuters.

Related: Costa Rica: Del Monte banana strike over

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