Fresh Del Monte Produce has posted a net loss of US$21.9 million in the 2018 financial year. This announcement follows a strong year in 2017, when the company made a net profit of US$120.8 million. The company says the loss is mainly on account of higher fruit and distribution costs and lower banana sales. Although net sales actually climbed 10% to US$4.49 billion, gross profit fell 16% to US$279.8 million. The company said the rise in net sales was driven by its other fresh and prepared food business segments, following the purchase of Mann Packing Company.
Del Monte’s key banana division saw a 4% fall in sales to US$1.7 billion, mainly on account of lower sales volume in the Middle East and Europe and lower selling prices in Europe, partially offset by higher selling prices in the Middle East and North America.
Del Monte’s ‘other fresh produce’ segment registered a 22% increase in net sales to US$2.44 billion driven largely by the fresh-cut fruit and vegetable business. The value of gold pineapple sales fell 1% to US$487.9 million, while volumes rose 2%. Avocados sales rose 5% to US$329.2 million, with volumes up 33%, but prices down 21% and unit costs 23% lower.
Lastly, net sales of fresh-cut fruit climbed 3% to US$510.6 million, while volumes rose 2%, prices grew 1% and unit cost was up 1%. Volumes of fresh-cut vegetables quadrupled, with net sales increasing to US$433.2 million, while prices dropped 21% and unit cost was down 23%.