Del Monte Earnings Go Stale, Stock Sours

Fresh Del Monte Produce posts lower-than-expect first quarter profit, hurt by weather conditions, weak melon prices and strong U.S. dollar. The stock plummeted in afternoon trading.
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Updated from 11:23 a.m. EDT.

Fruit and vegetable producer

Fresh Del Monte Produce

(FDP) - Get Report

posted lower-than-expected first quarter profit, marred by weather conditions, weak melon prices and the strong U.S. dollar. The news sent shares tumbling 12% to $14.93 in afternoon trading.

The company earned $34.9 million for the quarter, or 55 cents a share, compared with $63.6 million, or $1.00 a share, a year earlier.

Excluding an impairment charge, it earned 56 cents a share. Analysts expected earnings of 84 cents.

Sales fell slightly to $879.7 million, from $894.9 million last year.

Severe weather in the banana- and pineapple-production areas in Costa Rica and in banana-production areas in Guatemala led to disruptions in operations, a significant decrease in fruit quality and higher production costs.

Worldwide banana pricing rose 7%, while melon pricing fell 19% hurt by an oversupply of melons in the market and the weak economy.

On Monday Jim Cramer said he was

bearish on the stock.

Rival

Chiquita Brands

(CQB)

will report its first-quarter earnings on Thursday.

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