Flood damage to Fresh Del Monte Produce’s banana sites in Guatemala hit the US-based group’s profits in its third quarter, the company said today (2 November).

Fresh Del Monte booked net income of US$14.5m for the quarter to 1 October, down from $28.6m a year earlier.

The company’s sales rose 3.5% to $793.1m due to higher banana volumes in North America and the Middle East. However, profits from the group’s banana business – its biggest division by sales – were hit by impairment charges in Guatemala.

“Our third quarter earnings results reflect that we are operating in a very challenging environment,” said chairman and CEO Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh. “Adverse weather conditions again impacted our banana production areas in Guatemala, resulting in higher production costs. These costs were compounded by unfavorable exchange rates in several producing countries, and a difficult banana market in Europe.”