Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. today reported financial results for the quarter ended September 26, 2014. The Company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.35 for the third quarter of 2014, compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.11 in the third quarter of 2013.

“We are pleased to report a strong third quarter,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our performance was driven by higher sales volume in our banana and other fresh produce business segments and increased worldwide banana selling prices. We focused on maximizing sales to markets with the highest demand for Del Monte® branded products, benefiting from our logistics capabilities to quickly capitalize on market opportunities. As we look forward, we will adhere to our long-term strategic plan to further diversify our product line, expand our distribution channels and presence in new and existing markets, and increase value for our shareholders.”

Net sales for the third quarter of 2014 increased 3% to $884.6 million, compared with $861.1 million in the third quarter of 2013. The increase for the quarter was driven by higher net sales in the Company's banana and other fresh produce business segments, primarily due to increased sales volume of bananas and pineapples in North America and higher worldwide banana selling prices.

Gross profit for the third quarter of 2014 increased 39% to $73.9 million, compared with $53.0 million in the third quarter of 2013. The increase was primarily due to higher gross profit in the Company's banana business segment, principally due to increased selling prices and favorable exchange rates. The Company also benefited from lower ocean freight and distribution costs and ongoing operational efficiencies.

Operating income for the third quarter of 2014 increased $21.9 million to $29.3 million, compared with operating income of $7.4 million in the third quarter of 2013.

Net income for the third quarter of 2014 increased $13.5 million to $19.9 million, compared with net income of $6.4 million in the third quarter of 2013.