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Fresh Del Monte's net income up on higher prices

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -- Fresh Del Monte Produce reported rising second-quarter net income and revenue, though higher costs pressured the company's margins and shares slipped in afternoon trading.

The company which, is sometimes confused with the canned-vegetable and pet food producer Del Monte Foods Co., also recorded some one-time charges.

Fresh Del Monte reported net income of $62 million, or $1.10 per share, for the period that ended June 28. That is compared with net income of $57.2 million, or 99 cents per share, in the second quarter last year.

After adjusting for asset impairment charges, cash received from a legal settlement and other special items in both periods, it earned $1.02 per share versus $1.01 per share last year.

Revenue increased to $1.02 billion from $957.6 million on higher prices across all its segments and improved sales volumes of bananas and other fresh produce.

The produce company, however, struggled with higher costs for production and freight, in addition to special charges. That pushed gross margin down to 10.3 percent, from 12.2 percent last year.

The company did not issue a forecast but its chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh said Del Monte's financial depth and flexibility will allow it to continue to strengthen its position in the industry.

Shares of Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. slipped 11 cents to $27.96 by early afternoon after trading up to $28.50 earlier in the day. The company's stock remains at the upper-end of its 52-week trading range of $23.60 to $28.66.