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Del Monte sales up in 2018, but profitability falls

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. reported higher sales in 2018 but lower gross profit than the previous year.

The company released its fourth quarter and year-end financial results Feb. 18, which showed net sales were $4.49 billion, a 10 percent increase from 2017’s $4.08 billion. Additionally, fourth quarter sales were $1.05 billion vs. $954 million in 2017.

However, gross profit for the year was $280 million, compared to $332 million in 2017. The fourth quarter’s gross profit was $42.4 million vs. $51 million in Q4 2017.

The company reported “the decrease in gross profit for the full year and fourth quarter were primarily attributable to higher fruit and distribution costs in all of the company’s business segments, along with lower banana sales volume, partially offset by favorable exchange rates.”

“We had higher sales in North America, driven by our acquisition of Mann Packing Company in 2018,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in a company release.

“This strategic acquisition accelerated our efforts to diversify our presence in the fresh and fresh-cut vegetable industry. We’re proud of how well the integration has gone during a year in which we faced a number of other challenges, including port delays, severe winter weather events and truck shortages in the U.S., along with higher operating costs. As we enter 2019, we continue to focus sharply on implementing our operating strategies and taking aggressive action to transform our company to meet consumer demand for healthy and convenient food products.”


Net banana sales for the year were down slightly at $1.703 billion, compared with $1.77 billion in 2017. Del Monte reported “the decrease in net sales was primarily due to lower sales volume in the Middle East and Europe, along with lower selling prices in Europe, partially offset by higher selling prices in the Middle East and North America.”

Other fresh produce

Net sales for the year were up considerably, to $2.44 million, compared with $1.997 million in the prior year. “The increase in net sales was primarily attributable to increased sales volume in the company’s fresh-cut fruit and vegetables and increased sales volume and selling prices in the company’s vegetables product line as a result of the company’s acquisition of Mann Packing Company.”

Gold pineapple – Net sales decreased 1% to $487.9 million. Volume increased 2%. Pricing decreased 3%.

Fresh-cut fruit – Net sales increased 3% to $510.6 million. Volume increased 2%. Pricing increased 1%.

Fresh-cut vegetables – Net sales increased to $433.2 million. Volume increased fourfold. Pricing decreased 21%.

Avocados – Net sales increased 5% to $329.2 million. Volume increased 33%. Pricing decreased 21%.

Non-tropical – Net sales decreased 6% to $221.5 million. Volume decreased 8%. Pricing increased 2%.

Vegetables – Net sales increased to $140.1 million. Volume increased fourfold. Pricing increased 1%.

For the full year, Del Monte reported a loss per share of 45 cents, compared with earnings per diluted share of $2.39 for 2017. The full financial report can be read here.


Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services Inc.