Del Monte Pacific Limited has reported a 4% rise in turnover for the fourth quarter of 2005 to US$69.2m, but fourth-quarter net profit fell by 53% to US$5.6m as a result of higher costs and exceptional expenses.

The fourth-quarter sales rise was attributed largely to higher sales of processed products in the Philippines and other Asian markets which offset softer sales in North America and non-processed products. Turnover in the Philippines rose by 11% with strong growth in tomato-based products.
Higher costs offset price increases and gross profit margin fell to 21.3% from 32.6% in the fourth quarter of the previous year.
For the full year, turnover rose by 11% to a record high of US$222.4m, with sales up in both Asia and Europe/North America. However, the company said that profit before interest and taxation for the full year fell by 30% to US$24.5m, as a result of higher product costs, higher marketing and administration expenses as well as exceptional expenses of  US$5.7m. Net profit for the year decreased by 34% to US$18.6m.
“While we achieved good growth in sales for the year, the decline in profit was disappointing,” said chairman Tony Chew. “In 2006, we will intensify efforts to control costs and reduce losses in China and India.”