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Limoneira reports 4Q loss, avocado revenue drops

The Associated Press

NEWS: Agribusiness company Limoneira reported a loss in its fiscal fourth quarter as expenses rose and avocado revenue declined.

Its stock dropped in afternoon trading on Monday.

DETAILS: Limoneira said that quarterly agribusiness revenue fell to $12.9 million from $13.6 million in the prior-year period mostly because of lower avocado volume and revenue. Rental operations revenue was flat, while real estate development revenue more than tripled to $316,000.

Avocado revenue declined to $1.2 million from $3.3 million as the avocado harvest was completed earlier in fiscal 2013 than in the previous fiscal year.

Fourth-quarter lemon sales climbed to $9.5 million from $8.5 million on higher prices per carton due to better market conditions, which was somewhat offset by a lower number of cartons of fresh lemons sold.

Total costs and expenses climbed to $15.9 million from $14.3 million.

NUMBERS: For the three months ended Oct. 31, Limoneira Co. reported a loss after preferred dividends of $1.1 million, or 8 cents per share. That compares with a profit after preferred dividends of $76,000, or 1 cent per share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $14.3 million from $14.8 million.

The Santa Paula, Calif. company's full-year earnings rose to $4.6 million, or 36 cents per share, from $2.9 million, or 26 cents per share.

Annual revenue increased 29 percent to $84.9 million from $65.8 million.

FUTURE: Limoneira anticipates selling between 3 million and 3.3 million cartons of fresh lemons in fiscal 2014 and about 6 million pounds of avocados.

The company said the avocado crop usually has alternating years of high and low production due to plant physiology. Fiscal 2013 was a high avocado production year, so fiscal 2014 is expected to be a low avocado production year.

Lemon and avocado prices are expected to be higher in fiscal 2014 than the prior year due to lower industry production.

STOCK: Shares of Limoneira fell $2.03, or 7.4 percent, to $25.38 in afternoon trading. Over the past year, the stock is up 25 percent.