Fresh Del Monte oversaw a fairly stable first quarter of the year, with the group reporting on slight changes in sales and net income when compared with the same period of 2017.
The US-based group saw net sales climb to US$1.1bn during January-March, up from US$1.03bn last year, the result of higher net sales in Del Monte's other fresh produce and banana business segments – although this was partially offset by lower net sales in its prepared food business segment.
Gross profit and operating income both increased, but net income attributable to the company fell to US$41.5m from US$46.4m last year.
“Our growth during the first quarter is a testament to our initiatives to strengthen the foundation of our company through diversification to become the world’s leading supplier of healthful, wholesome and convenient fresh and value-added food and beverages,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer.
“The acquisition of Mann Packing already contributed robust one-month sales growth and profitability in the value-added product line without the implementation of any synergies," he continued. "Our avocado product line also showed strong results. These are two good examples of our continued commitment to executing our diversification strategy. However, we did face a series of external headwinds brought on by unfavourable weather and logistical challenges that hindered our progress."
Net sales in the banana segment rose to US$453.2m, compared with $445.1m in 2017, while volume dropped 8 per cent, the group noted.
In the other fresh produce segment, net sales jumped from US$502.6m to US$573.9m, driven by fresh-cut, avocados and gold pineapples.
"We remain resolute and enthusiastic about future opportunities, especially in our value-added products, with several exciting new direct to consumer ventures and innovative products to emerge during the coming months to further drive diversification," Abu-Ghazaleh added.