U.S.-based Limoneira Company registered a 7% year-on-year rise in revenue for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31 to a record US$129.4 million, thanks in part to strong lemon pricing.
Operating income, however, declined from US$11.9 million to US$9.5 million.
In a statement, CEO Harold Edwards highlighted that as well as record revenue and earnings in 2018 Limoneira closed on two strategic acquisitions and improved its balance sheet with a successful equity offering.
He expects strong lemon pricing to continue throughout fiscal 2019, along with increased production and operating efficiencies in all areas of the business.
"In fiscal 2019, we expect our two recent strategic acquisitions, San Pablo in Chile and Oxnard Lemon in California, to be meaningfully accretive and combined with other organic growth opportunities throughout our agribusiness, we believe we are well positioned to achieve record revenue, EBITDA and earnings," he said.
"Looking beyond 2019, we have an additional 1,200 acres currently of non-bearing lemons that are estimated to become full-bearing over the next four years, which will enable us to achieve strong organic growth for many years to come.
"Lastly, the successful $69 million equity raise completed in 2018 will enable us to add to our organic growth with additional strategic acquisitions in the United States and throughout the world, driving our One World of Citrus™ platform."
In the fourth quarter of 2018, agribusiness revenue fell from US$14.6 million to US$13.5 million, primarily due to the delayed timing of the desert zone lemon harvest into the first quarter of fiscal year 2019 from persistent rains and a smaller than expected wine grape harvest yield in the quarter.
Approximately 239,000 cartons of fresh lemons were sold during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2018 at a US$29.71 average price per carton compared to approximately 414,000 cartons sold at an average of US$21.01 during the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2017.