Californian company Calavo Growers, packager and distributer of avocado, processed avocado and other perishable food products, has announced sales of US$56.1m for the Q2 2002, ended 30 April 2002, up 6.5% over the same prior year period.

These results were driven principally by growth generated by the company's international and perishable food products segment, higher gross profit percentages generated by each of the company's business segments and the overall effect of increased net sales which significantly improved gross margins.

Gross margins generated from operations for the Q2 2002 increased by 61.3% from US$4.4m to US$7.1m. On a consolidated basis, fully diluted earnings per share reached US$0.19 for the Q2 2002 as compared with US$0.09 for the same prior year period.

"Calavo's Q2 performance exceeded our expectations on both the top and bottom lines," said Lee Cole, chairman, CEO and president: "Compared with the same prior year period, our International Avocados and Perishable Food Products Business had increased sales of US$15.4m. In addition, each of our company's business segments reported higher gross profit percentages."

"We are also pleased with the continued strengthening of our balance sheet compared to our position as of our fiscal year end.

"In this H1, positive cash flows from our operations and additional capital raised have enabled us to reduce our short-term borrowings by US$4.8m and increase total shareholders' equity by US$3.1m."

Q3 2002 outlook

"We expect a cyclical increase in sales from our California Avocado business which is customary in the Q3," said Cole: "Additionally, we anticipate these increases will largely offset the expected reduction in sales in our International Avocado and Perishable Products segment in the H2 as imports of Mexican avocados are not permitted into the US by the USDA after 15 April 2002, and will not resume again until 15 October 2002.

"From an operations perspective, we anticipate that consolidated gross margin for the Q3 will remain flat or increase slightly when compared to our Q2 results."

"In January 2002, we announced plans to commence a rights offering to our existing shareholders for 1 million shares of our common stock at a price of US$5 per share. Although slightly delayed, we anticipate the rights offering to our existing shareholders to be completed within the H2 2002."