US produce group Calavo Growers has booked an increase in first-quarter profit and sounded an upbeat note on its full-year outlook.

In the three months to the end of January, net income, before the effect of a performance-based consideration expense in the comparable quarter last year, rose 25% to US$3.5m. Including the expense, earnings remained flat at $2.7m.

Operating profit in the period dipped slightly, to $4.3m from $4.4m last year, while net sales climbed 19% to $139.5m to hit what the company said was a “new first-quarter record”. The growth was down to higher unit volume in its fresh business and “robust” year-over-year top-line growth in its Renaissance Food Group unit.

Looking ahead, CEO Lee Cole said Calavo has begun the year “with considerable velocity” behind the operating performance in each of its business units. He added: “I am enormously optimistic that momentum will continue to build in the subsequent quarters of fiscal 2013.”