Chiquita Brands Earnings Cheat Sheet: Turnaround Spirit Yields Profitable Quarter

Chiquita Brands International Inc. (NASDAQ:CQB) reported its results for the first quarter. Chiquita Brands International and its subsidiaries operate as an international marketer and distributor of bananas and other fresh produce sold under the Chiquita and other brands.

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Chiquita Brands International Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Swung to a profit of $24 million (52 cents/diluted share) in the quarter. Chiquita Brands International Inc. had a net loss of $9.2 million or a loss 20 cents per share in the year earlier quarter.

Revenue: Rose 1.9% to $824 million YoY.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: CQB reported adjusted net income of of 56 cents/share. By that measure, the company beat the mean estimate of 39 cents/share. Estimates ranged from 31 cents per share to 49 cents per share.

Quoting Management: “We delivered a turn-around in profitability in the first quarter by executing well and overcoming increased industry costs,” said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. “I am particularly pleased with the progress we are making in Europe, and am confident that we can regain prior levels of profitability in the medium and the long-term and maximize our premium brand position. In North America, our banana business continues to perform well and we are very focused on attracting new customers to increase our salad distribution as the year progresses. Importantly, we are off to a good start for the year in terms of profitability and although second quarter comparisons may be more challenging, we continue to expect to deliver significant operating profit improvement in 2011 versus 2010.”

Key Stats: A year-over-year revenue increase last quarter snaps a streak of four consecutive quarters of revenue declines. The worst quarter in that span was the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, which saw an 11.5% decrease.

CQB’s profit in the latest quarter follows losses in the previous two quarters. The company reported a net loss of $19.7 million in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year and a loss of $8.4 million in the third quarter of the last fiscal year.

Competitors to Watch: Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE:FDP), Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE:DOLE), Total Produce plc (NYSE:TOT), Alico (NASDAQ:ALCO), Limoneira (NASDAQ:LMNR), Inventure Foods (NASDAQ:SNAK), ConAgra (NYSE:CAG), Seneca Foods (NASDAQ:SENEB) and TreeHouse (NYSE:THS).

Stock Performance: Shares of CQB are unchanged from the today’s closing price of $15.19.

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