California-based Limoneira has reported a positive third financial quarter that was boosted by stronger lemon pricing and increased fresh utilization.
Adjusted net income was $3.7 million, compared to the third quarter of fiscal year 2020 of $2.4 million. Operating income for the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 nearly doubled to $3.4 million up from $1.8 million.
Those results came despite a drop in agribusiness revenue to $48 million from $52.4 million.
Harold Edwards, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, said: “Lemon pricing and fresh utilization was strong for the third quarter and we are well positioned for solid lemon growth in fiscal year 2022.
“Our results were partially offset by the reduced sizing of our avocado fruit due to lack of rainfall. Driven primarily by fresh lemon utilization, we increased operating income by 86% during the third quarter even with the widely publicized global logistical delays that are affecting the entire agriculture industry and reduced exports to Asia due to COVID-19.
“We do believe these logistical challenges will improve in fiscal year 2022 and with the expectation of reduced exports we are very confident in domestic pricing improvements in fiscal year 2022.”
Edwards continued that Limoneira is implementing a digital information system it calls the “Farm to Table via Tablet” initiative, which is aimed at monitoring daily tree health and fruit growth along with tying together the entire distribution chain from tree to customer.
“This real time information system will combine the entire One World of Fresh Citrus™ worldwide team together on one accessible platform to raise yields and quality while increasing the efficiencies of farming, harvest, packing and sales.”
Agribusiness revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2021 includes $24.4 million in fresh lemon sales, compared to $35.4 million last year. Approximately 1,144,000 cartons of fresh lemons were sold in aggregate during the period at a $21.34 average price per carton compared, to approximately 1,979,000 cartons sold at an average of $17.91.
Limoneira also recognized $4.1 million of avocado revenue, down from $6.1 million. Approximately 3.5 million pounds of avocados were sold in aggregate a $1.16 average price per pound, compared to approximately 6.1 million pounds sold at a $1.00 average price per pound during the previous year’s period.
The reduction in avocado revenue compared to the prior year is due to the highly publicized lack of rainfall throughout California and the West Coast, which reduced the overall size of the actual avocado fruit pieces and resulted in reduced pounds sold.