SANTA PAULA, Calif. (AP) ¿ Calavo Growers Inc. said Monday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell, hurt by a significantly smaller cyclical crop of avocados from California.

The marketer of fresh avocados and maker of processed avocado products earned $2.3 million, or 16 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 31. That's down 43 percent from $4 million, or 28 cents per share, a year ago.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters, whose estimates generally exclude one-time items, predicted a higher profit of 23 cents per share.

Sales dropped 14 percent to $80.9 million from $93.6 million.

Chairman, President and CEO Lee Cole said in a statement that Calavo benefited from a bigger fruit supply from Mexico that helped to somewhat offset the lower crop yield from California.

For the year, profit surged 77 percent to $13.6 million, or 94 cents per share, from $7.7 million, or 53 cents per share.

Annual sales declined 5 percent to $344.8 million from $361.5 million.

Gross margin climbed 34 percent to $44.5 million due to reduced avocado costs.

The company said its strong performance during the year allowed it to lower its long-term debt to $13.9 million from $25.4 million.

Shares of Calavo Growers shed $1.27, or 7.5 percent, to $15.73 in morning trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $10.50 to $22.08.
Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

If you liked this article you might like

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

What's Behind the Surge in Energy Stocks

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform

Hillary Clinton Says Prosecuting Individuals is Key to Wall Street Reform