Fresh Del Monte reports 4Q, 2008 financial results

Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. has reported financial results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 26, 2008. The company reported earnings per diluted share of $0.41 for the fourth quarter of 2008, compared with earnings per diluted share of $0.68 in the fourth quarter of 2007. Earnings per diluted share for the full year were $2.82, versus earnings per diluted share of $3.22 for the full year of 2007.

Net sales for fourth quarter 2008 decreased 2% to $831.0 million, compared with $848.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Gross profit for the quarter was $69.4 million, compared with gross profit of $75.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Operating income for the quarter increased 2% to $30.4 million, compared with $29.9 million in the prior year.

For the 2008 fourth quarter, net income was $26.2 million, compared with $41.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, "During an extremely difficult economic environment, our solid fourth quarter performance is further evidence of our ongoing commitment to mitigate costs and drive productivity throughout our global organization. Despite the difficult environment, we remained focused on the fundamentals that are critical to our success; prudently managing costs while investing in profitable core products and emerging markets that we believe will generate attractive returns for our shareholders over the long-term."

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