Limoneira expects profitable year for lemons

Although the forest fires in California also affected Limoneira's lemon orchards, CEO, Harold Edwards, remains positive. He predicts a good market with the possibility of record profits for the new year. He is also pleased with the how the past year went. 

This American company, which is especially prominent in lemon cultivation, closed its books with a record turnover of $121,3 million last year. This was an increase of 9% in relation to the previous year. This is according to figures recently announced by the company. Fourth-quarter net sales fell to $15,9 million ($19,5 million in 2016). This was caused by lower sales because the extreme heat experienced in Arizona caused delays in harvesting. The most significant portion of sales, by far, is thanks to the trade in lemons. This was good for $12 million's worth of sales in the fourth quarter. Limoneira cultivates lemons in California, Arizona and Chile.

Over the entire book year (ending on 31 October), operational income amounted to $11,9 million; an increase of $9,2 million compared to a year earlier. The corrected EBITDA stands at $19 million, versus $20,1 million a year earlier. The 2016 results are influenced by several once-off benefits. These include the sale of shares in Calavo Growers worth $1 million and transaction fees for the joining the property market.

For the coming year, Limoneira plans to sell 3,1 and 3,3 million boxes of lemons at an average price of $24,50 per box. The company is also hoping to bring between 2,7 and 2,9 million kg (6-6,5 million pounds) of avocados to the market at an average price of $1,30 per pound.

The market for lemons is showing a positive trend. "We are seeing a persistently robust demand for lemons in South-East Asia, especially in the Japanese, Korean, Chinese and Hong Kong markets," said Harold Edwards in an interview with KJZZ. "And with the increasing demand, there is less volume left for the North American and conventional European market."

The company has just closed the autumn harvest in Yuma, Arizona. The forest fires in California have resulted in a $1 million worth of damage to 50 acres (20 ha) of the total van acreage of 12 000 acres (4.856 ha) in Southern California, where the sea of flames crossed the Rancho la Cuesta.

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