Lower lemon sales have seen US grower-shipper Limoneira report a drop in its agribusiness revenues in its fourth quarter of 2015.
The California-based company reported total revenue of US$14.2m in the quarter ending 31 October 2015, compared to US$16.3m the previous year.
The company’s agribusiness revenue for the fourth quarter fell to US$12.9m compared to US$15m in 2014.
Limoneira cited lower lemon revenue for its operating results in the fourth quarter, which fell below the previous forecast as a result of less volume of fresh lemon cartons sold as well as legal costs associated with its joint venture with Lewis Group, according to a company statement released 11 January.
The company reported revenue of US$100.3m to the year ending 31 October 2015, compared to US$103.5m the previous year, with Limoneira’s operating income falling to US$4.6m compared to US$9.9m in the 2014 fiscal year, citing lower orange prices and volumes, lower lemon revenues and higher agribusiness expenses.
“Over the past year, we continued to execute on our long-term growth strategy. We formed a development partnership between our company and the Lewis Group, a leading real estate development and investment company, for the development of Harvest at Limoneira,” explained president and CEO Harold Edwards. “We expect to receive US$100m to US$120m from the joint venture, including the US$20m we have received, over the seven to ten year life of the project.”
Edwards said 2015 had been seen significant progress in Limoneira’s agribusiness, with its expansion of its lemon packhouse in Santa Paula expected to be operational in the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year, which Edwards expects will double its lemon packing capacity and reduce labour costs.
“Looking forward, we intend to continue to make investments to expand our agribusiness operations in both California and internationally in order to expand Limoneira’s position as a leading global citrus agribusiness,” Edwards said.
Limoneira expects its operating income for the 2016 fiscal year to be US$7.8m to US$8.3m compared to its operating income of US$4.5m for the 2015 year, with estimated savings from its new lemon packing facilities, and additional revenue from more farm worker housing units.