UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
|☑||ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
FOR THE FISCAL YEAR ENDED OCTOBER 31, 2020
|☐||TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934|
Commission file number: 001-34755
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
|(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)||(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)|
1141 Cummings Road, Santa Paula, CA
|(Address of principal executive offices)|| ||(Zip code)|
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code: (805) 525-5541
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
| || ||Name of Each Exchange|
|Title of Each Class||Trading Symbol||On Which Registered|
| || || |
|Common Stock, par value $0.01 per share||LMNR||The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC|
|(NASDAQ Global Select Market)|
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act: None
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ☐ No ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant: (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files). Yes ☑ No ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, smaller reporting company or an emerging growth company. See the definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” “smaller reporting company” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.:
|Large accelerated filer ☐|
Accelerated filer ☑
|Non-accelerated filer ☐|
If an emerging growth company, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management's assessment of the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report ☑
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ☐ No ☑
Based on the closing price as reported on the NASDAQ Global Market, the aggregate market value of the Registrant’s Common Stock held by non-affiliates on April 30, 2020 (the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $205.6 million. Shares of Common Stock held by each executive officer and director and by each stockholder affiliated with a director or an executive officer have been excluded from this calculation because such persons may be deemed to be affiliates. This determination of affiliate status is not necessarily a conclusive determination for other purposes. The number of outstanding shares of the Registrant’s Common Stock as of December 31, 2020 was 17,654,708.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2021 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which we intend to hold on March 23, 2021, are incorporated by reference into Part III of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The definitive Proxy Statement will be filed within 120 days after October 31, 2020.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This Annual Report on Form 10-K (this “Annual Report”) contains statements which, to the extent that they do not recite historical fact, constitute forward-looking statements. These statements can be identified by the fact that they do not relate strictly to historical or current facts and may include the words "may," "will," “could," "should," "would," "believe," "expect," "anticipate," "estimate," "intend," "plan" or other words or expressions of similar meaning. We have based these forward-looking statements on our current expectations about future events. The forward-looking statements include statements that reflect management’s beliefs, plans, objectives, goals, expectations, anticipations and intentions with respect to our financial condition, results of operations, future performance and business, including statements relating to our business strategy and our current and future development plans.
The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual financial condition, results of operations and future performance to differ materially from those expressed or implied in this Annual Report include:
•changes in laws, regulations, rules, quotas, tariffs and import laws;
•adverse weather conditions, natural disasters and other adverse natural conditions, including freezes, rains, fires and droughts, that affect the production, transportation, storage, import and export of fresh produce;
•market responses to industry volume pressures;
•increased pressure from disease, insects and other pests;
•disruption of water supplies or changes in water allocations;
•product and raw materials supplies and pricing;
•energy supply and pricing;
•changes in interest rates;
•availability of financing for development activities;
•general economic conditions for residential and commercial real estate development;
•political changes and economic crises;
•acts of terrorism;
•labor disruptions, strikes, shortages or work stoppages;
•the impact of foreign exchange rate movements;
•negative impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the effectiveness of the Company's responses to the pandemic;
•ability to maintain compliance with covenants under our loan agreements;
•loss of important intellectual property rights; and
•other factors disclosed in our public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC").
In addition, this Annual Report contains industry data related to our business and the markets in which we operate. This data includes projections that are based on a number of assumptions. If these assumptions turn out to be incorrect, actual results could differ from the projections or estimates, especially relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. We urge you to carefully review this Annual Report, particularly the section entitled “Risk Factors,” for a complete discussion of the risks of an investment in our common stock.
Although we believe that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, we cannot guarantee future results, level of activity, performance or achievements. Many factors discussed in this Annual Report, some of which are beyond our control, will be important in determining our future performance. Consequently, actual results may differ materially from those that might be anticipated from forward-looking statements. In light of these and other uncertainties, you should not regard the inclusion of a forward-looking statement in this Annual Report as a representation by us that our plans and objectives will be achieved, and you should not place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.
All references to “we,” “us,” “our,” “our Company,” “the Company,” or “Limoneira” in this Annual Report mean Limoneira Company, a Delaware corporation, and its consolidated subsidiaries.
Item 1. Business
Limoneira Company, a Delaware corporation, is the successor to several businesses with operations in California since 1893. Our business and operations are described below. For detailed financial information with respect to our business and our operations, see our consolidated financial statements and the related notes to consolidated financial statements, which are included in Item 8 in this Annual Report. In addition, general information concerning our Company can be found on our website, the internet address of which is www.limoneira.com. All of our filings with the SEC, including but not limited to, annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K, and any amendments thereto, are available free of charge on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after such material is electronically filed with or furnished to the SEC.
We are primarily an agribusiness company founded and based in Santa Paula, California, committed to responsibly using and managing our approximately 15,400 acres of land, water resources and other assets to maximize long-term stockholder value. Our current operations consist of fruit production, sales and marketing, rental operations, real estate and capital investment activities.
We are one of California’s oldest citrus growers. According to Sunkist Growers, Inc. (“Sunkist”), we are one of the largest growers of lemons in the United States and, according to the California Avocado Commission, one of the largest growers of avocados in the United States. In addition to growing lemons and avocados, we grow oranges and a variety of specialty citrus and other crops. We have agricultural plantings throughout Ventura, Tulare, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino Counties in California, Yuma County in Arizona, La Serena, Chile and Jujuy, Argentina, which collectively consist of approximately 6,000 acres of lemons, 900 acres of avocados, 1,400 acres of oranges and 900 acres of specialty citrus and other crops. We also operate our own packinghouses in Santa Paula and Oxnard, California and Yuma, Arizona, where we process, pack and sell lemons that we grow, as well as lemons grown by others. We have a 47% interest in Rosales S.A. (“Rosales”), a citrus packing, marketing and sales business, a 90% interest in Fruticola Pan de Azucar S.A. (“PDA”), a lemon and orange orchard and 100% interest in Agricola San Pablo SpA. ("San Pablo"), a lemon and orange orchard, all of which are located near La Serena, Chile. We have a 51% interest in a joint venture, Trapani Fresh Consorcio de Cooperacion ("Trapani Fresh"), a lemon growing, packing, marketing and selling business in Argentina.
Our water resources include water rights, usage rights and pumping rights to the water in aquifers under, and canals that run through, the land we own. Water for our farming operations is sourced from the existing water resources associated with our land, which includes rights to water in the adjudicated Santa Paula Basin (aquifer) and the un-adjudicated Fillmore and Paso Robles Basins (aquifers). We use ground water from the San Joaquin Valley Basin and water from local water and irrigation districts in Tulare County, which is in California’s San Joaquin Valley. We also use ground water from the Cadiz Valley Basin in California’s San Bernardino County and surface water in Arizona from the Colorado River through the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District (“YMIDD”). We use ground water provided by wells and surface water for our PDA and San Pablo farming operations in Chile and our Trapani Fresh farming operations in Argentina.
For more than 100 years, we have been making strategic investments in California agriculture and real estate. We currently have an interest in three real estate development projects in California. These projects include multi-family housing and single-family homes comprising 256 completed rental units and another approximately 1,150 units in various stages of planning and development.
Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights and Recent Developments
We are equal partners in a joint venture with The Lewis Group of Companies (“Lewis”) for the residential development of our East Area I real estate development project. To consummate the transaction, we formed Limoneira Lewis Community Builders, LLC (the "LLCB" or "Joint Venture"). The first phase of the project broke ground to commence mass grading in November 2017. The Joint Venture has closed on lot sales representing 354 units from inception through October 31, 2020.
In the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, we entered into an agreement to sell our Sevilla property for $2.7 million. After transaction and other costs, we expect to receive proceeds of approximately $2.6 million and recognize an insignificant gain. At October 31, 2020, the $2.5 million carrying value of the property was classified as held for sale and included in prepaid expenses and other current assets.
In March 2020, we entered into a revolving equity line of credit promissory note and loan agreement with Farm Credit West for a $15.0 million Revolving Equity Line of Credit (the "RELOC") secured by a first lien on the Windfall Investors, LLC property. The RELOC matures in 2043 and features a 3-year draw period followed by 20 years of fully amortized loan payments. The interest rate
is variable with monthly interest-only payments during the 3-year draw period and monthly principal and interest payments thereafter.
In March 2020, we sold our remaining 200,000 shares of Calavo Growers, Inc. ("Calavo") common stock at an average price of $55.29 per share. Net proceeds from the sale were $11.0 million and we recognized a loss of $6.3 million.
In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act ("CARES Act") was signed into law. The CARES Act provides numerous tax provisions and other stimulus measures, including temporary changes regarding the prior and future utilization of net operating losses, temporary changes to the prior and future limitations on interest deductions, temporary suspension of certain payment requirements for the employer portion of Social Security taxes, the creation of certain refundable employee retention credits, and technical corrections from prior tax legislation for tax depreciation of certain qualified improvement property. We evaluated the impact of the CARES Act on our consolidated financial statements and recorded approximately $1.9 million of income tax benefit and applied for $5.8 million of federal refunds and an additional $0.9 million of California refunds in fiscal years 2020 and 2021, of which $0.8 million and $5.0 million were received in October 2020 and December 2020, respectively.
On March 12, 2020, the Board of Directors of our Company approved a share repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding shares of common stock through March 2021. Under the share repurchase program, purchases of shares of common stock may be made from time to time in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions. The share repurchase program may be modified, suspended or discontinued at any time and does not commit us to repurchase shares of our common stock. During fiscal year 2020, we repurchased 250,977 shares under the share repurchase program for approximately $3.5 million. As of October 31, 2020, the remaining authorization under this program is approximately $6.5 million.
On June 30, 2020, we entered into a Conversion Agreement with Farm Credit West to convert our term loans to fixed interest rate loans effective July 1, 2020. No changes were made to the outstanding principal balances on the loans and we made no cash repayments of principal. The rates are subject to a prepayment restriction period for a portion of the fixed rate term that will expire on January 1, 2021, after which we may prepay any amounts without penalty.
In August 2020, we sold a property, located in Lindsay, California. We received net proceeds of $6.0 million and after transaction and other costs, we recorded a loss of approximately $0.4 million as of October 31, 2020.
On December 15, 2020, we declared a cash dividend of $0.075 per common share payable on January 15, 2021, in the aggregate amount of $1.3 million to stockholders of record as of December 28, 2020.
The global spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in recent months has negatively impacted the global economy, disrupted global supply chains and created significant volatility and disruption of financial markets. The impact of this pandemic has created significant uncertainty in the global economy and has affected our business, employees, suppliers, and customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the industries and markets in which we conduct business. In particular, the United States lemon market has seen a significant decline in volume. Lemon demand began falling in mid-March when wide spread shelter in place orders were issued, resulting in a significant market oversupply. The export market for fresh produce has also significantly declined due to COVID-19 impacts.
The decline in demand for our products beginning the second quarter of 2020, which we believe was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacted our sales and profitability for the second, third and fourth quarters of 2020. We also expect an adverse impact on our sales and profitability in future periods. These impacts are expected to be material. However, the duration of these trends and the magnitude of such impacts cannot be precisely estimated at this time, as they are affected by a number of factors, many of which are outside management’s control, including, but not limited, to those presented in - Item 1A. Risk Factors of this Annual Report. Although subject to unforeseen changes that may arise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we currently expect improvement in fiscal year 2021.
We took proactive actions early on to protect the health of our employees and their families, including curtailing business travel and encouraging video conferencing whenever possible. In addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened throughout the spring, we allowed personnel to work remotely to the extent possible. While we believe we have responded appropriately to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the situation evolves, we will continue to analyze additional mitigation measures that may be needed to preserve the health and safety of our workforce and our customers and the ongoing continuity of our business operations. Those measures might include modifying workspaces, continuing social distancing policies, implementing new personal
protective equipment or health screening policies at our facilities, or such other industry best practices needed to continue to maintain a healthy and safe environment for our employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the economic uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken actions to improve our current liquidity position, including temporarily postponing capital expenditures, selling equity securities to increase cash, reducing operating costs, and substantially reducing discretionary spending.
We are one of the largest growers of lemons and avocados in the United States and maintain our country's food chain infrastructure and thus are considered an essential business and permitted to remain open during the ongoing pandemic, be it at reduced volumes, in order to fulfill our customers' needs. However, there is significant uncertainty around the breadth and duration of our business disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on the U.S. economy, the ongoing business operations of our clients and our results of operations and financial condition. While our management team is actively monitoring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and may take further actions altering our business operations that we determine are in the best interests of our employees and clients or as required by federal, state, or local authorities, the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results of operations, financial condition, or liquidity for fiscal year 2021 and beyond cannot be fully estimated at this point. The following discussions are subject to the future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our ongoing business operations.
Business Division Summary
We have three business divisions: agribusiness, rental operations and real estate development. The agribusiness division is comprised of three reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing and other agribusiness, which includes avocados, oranges, specialty citrus and other crops. The agribusiness division includes our core operations of farming, harvesting, lemon packing and lemon sales operations. The rental operations include our residential and commercial rentals, leased land operations and organic recycling. The real estate development division includes our investments in real estate development projects.
Lemons. We market and sell lemons directly to our food service, wholesale and retail customers throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, Australia and certain other international markets. We are one of the largest lemon growers in the United States with approximately 6,000 acres of lemons planted primarily in Ventura, Tulare and San Bernardino Counties in California and in Yuma County, Arizona. In California, the lemon growing area stretches from the Coachella Valley to Fresno and Monterey Counties, with the majority of the growing areas located in the coastal areas from Ventura County to Monterey County. Ventura County is California’s top lemon producing county. Approximately 26% of our lemons are grown in Ventura County, 22% are grown in Tulare County, 17% are grown in Yuma County, Arizona and 10% are grown in San Bernardino County, California. We also grow approximately 5% of our lemons near La Serena, Chile and 20% of our lemons in Argentina.
There are over fifty varieties of lemons, with the Lisbon, Eureka and Genoa being the predominant varieties marketed on a worldwide basis. Approximately 87% of our lemon plantings are of the Lisbon, Eureka and Genoa varieties and approximately 13% are of other varieties such as sweet Meyer lemons, Proprietary Seedless lemons and Pink Variegated lemons. California-grown lemons are available throughout the year, with peak production periods occurring from January through August. The storage life of fresh lemons generally ranges from one to 18 weeks, depending upon the maturity of the fruit, the growing methods used and the handling conditions in the distribution chain.
Avocados. We are one of the largest avocado growers in the United States with approximately 900 acres of avocados planted throughout Ventura County. In California, the avocado growing area stretches from San Diego County to Monterey County, with the majority of the growing areas located approximately 100 miles north and south of Los Angeles County.
California-grown avocados are available year-round, with peak production periods occurring between February and September. Other avocado varieties have a more limited picking season and typically command a lower price. Because of superior eating quality, the Hass avocado has contributed greatly to the avocado’s growing popularity through its retail, restaurant and other food service uses. Approximately 95% of our avocado plantings are of the Hass variety. The storage life of fresh avocados generally ranges from one to four weeks, depending upon the maturity of the fruit, the growing methods used and the handling conditions in the distribution chain.
We provide a majority of our avocado production to Calavo, a packing and marketing company listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CVGW. Calavo’s customers include many of the largest retail and food service companies in the United States and Canada. Calavo receives fruit from our orchards at its packinghouse located in Santa Paula, California. Calavo’s
proximity to our agricultural operations enables us to keep transportation and handling costs to a minimum. Our avocados are packed by Calavo and sold and distributed under its own brands to its customers primarily in the United States and Canada.
Primarily due to differing soil conditions, the care of avocado trees is intensive and during our 80-year history of growing avocados, growing techniques have changed dramatically. The need for more production per acre to compete with foreign sources of supply has required us to take an important lead in the practice of dense planting (typically four times the number of avocado trees per acre versus traditional avocado plantings) and mulching composition to help trees acclimate under conditions that more closely resemble those found in the tropics, a better climate for avocado growth.
Oranges, Specialty Citrus and Other Crops. We have approximately 1,400 acres of oranges planted primarily in Tulare County, California. In California, the growing area for oranges stretches from Imperial County to Yolo County. California-grown Navel oranges are available from October to June, with peak production periods occurring between January and April. Approximately 96% of our orange plantings are of the Navel variety and approximately 4% are of the Valencia variety. We estimate approximately 70% of our oranges are sold to retail customers and approximately 30% are sold to wholesale customers. We currently have approximately 900 acres of specialty citrus and other crops planted such as Moro blood oranges, Cara Cara oranges, Minneola tangelos, Star Ruby grapefruit, pummelos, pistachios and wine grapes.
We utilize third-party packinghouses to process and pack our oranges and specialty citrus. A portion of our oranges and specialty citrus is marketed and sold under the Sunkist brand by Sunkist and orders are processed by Sunkist-member packinghouses. As an agricultural cooperative, Sunkist coordinates the sales and marketing of the oranges and specialty citrus and orders are processed by Sunkist-member packinghouses for direct shipment to customers.
We currently market our other crops, such as pistachios and wine grapes, utilizing processors that are not members of agricultural cooperatives. Our pistachios are harvested and sold to a roaster, packager and marketer of nuts, and our wine grapes are sold to various wine producers.
We have agricultural plantings on properties located in the United States, Chile and Argentina. The following is a description of our agriculture properties:
|Ranch Name||County / State or Country||Total|
|Limoneira/Olivelands ||Ventura, CA||1,700 ||700 ||500 ||— ||— ||500 |
|La Campana ||Ventura, CA||300 ||100 ||200 ||— ||— ||— |
|Teague McKevett ||Ventura, CA||500 ||— ||100 ||— ||— ||400 |
|Orchard Farm ||Ventura, CA||1,100 ||500 ||— ||— ||— ||600 |
|Rancho La Cuesta||Ventura, CA||200 ||100 ||— ||— ||— ||100 |
|Limco Del Mar||Ventura, CA||200 ||100 ||100 ||— ||— ||— |
|Porterville Ranches||Tulare, CA||1,200 ||400 ||— ||400 ||200 ||200 |
|Ducor Ranches||Tulare, CA||1,000 ||300 ||— ||400 ||300 ||— |
|Sheldon Ranches||Tulare, CA||700 ||200 ||— ||400 ||— ||100 |
|Lemons 400||Tulare, CA||800 ||400 ||— ||— ||— ||400 |
|Windfall Farms||San Luis Obispo, CA||700 ||— ||— ||— ||300 ||400 |
|Cadiz||San Bernardino, CA||800 ||600 ||— ||— ||— ||200 |
|Associated Citrus Packers||Yuma, AZ||1,300 ||1,000 ||— ||— ||— ||300 |
|Pan de Azucar & San Pablo||La Serena, Chile||3,500 ||300 ||— ||200 ||— ||3,000 |
|Santa Clara||Jujuy, Argentina||1,200 ||1,200 ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Other agribusiness land||Various Counties, CA||200 ||100 ||— ||— ||100 ||— |
|Total||15,400 ||6,000 ||900 ||1,400 ||900 ||6,200 |
|Percentage of Total||100 ||%||39 ||%||6 ||%||9 ||%||6 ||%||41 ||%|
The Limoneira/Olivelands Ranch is the original site of our Company. Our headquarters, lemon packing operations and storage facilities are located on this property.
The Teague McKevett Ranch is the site of our real estate development project known as East Area I and described below under the “Real Estate Development Summary” heading.
The other agribusiness land in the table above includes corporate and lemon packing facilities, land leased to other agricultural businesses, rental units, roads, creeks, hillsides and other open land.
Our orchards can maintain production for many years. For financial reporting purposes, we depreciate our orchards from 20 to 40 years depending on the fruit variety with the majority of our orchards depreciated over 20 to 30 years. We regularly evaluate our orchards’ production and growing costs and based on these and other factors, we may decide to redevelop certain orchards. In addition, we may acquire agricultural property with existing productive orchards or without productive orchards, which would require new orchard plantings. The fruit varieties that we grow are typically non-producing for approximately the first four years after planting. Orchards may continue producing fruit longer than their depreciable lives. The following table presents the number of acres planted by fruit variety and approximate age of our orchards:
| ||Age of Orchards|
|0-4 Years||5-25 Years||Over 25 Years||Total|
|Lemons||1,200 ||3,500 ||1,300 ||6,000 |
|Avocados||— ||500 ||400 ||900 |
|Oranges||200 ||700 ||500 ||1,400 |
|Specialty citrus and other||200 ||600 ||100 ||900 |
|Total ||1,600 ||5,300 ||2,300 ||9,200 |
Lemon Packing and Sales
We are the oldest continuous lemon packing operation in North America. We pack and sell lemons grown by us as well as lemons grown by others, the operations of which are included in our financial statements under the lemon packing segment. Lemons delivered to our packinghouses in Santa Paula and Oxnard, California and Yuma, Arizona are sized, graded, cooled, ripened and packed for delivery to customers. Our ability to accurately estimate the size, grade and timing of the delivery of the annual lemon crop has a substantial impact on both our costs and the sales price we receive for the fruit.
A significant portion of the costs related to our lemon packing operation is fixed. Our strategy for growing the profitability of our lemon packing operations calls for optimizing the percentage of a crop that goes to the fresh market, or fresh utilization, and procuring a larger percentage of the California and Arizona lemon crop.
We invest considerable time and research into refining and improving our lemon packing through innovation and are continuously searching for new techniques to refine how premium lemons are delivered to our consumers. In fiscal year 2016, our updated lemon packing facility became operational which doubled our lemon packing capacity and increased the efficiency and financial results of these operations.
Rental Operations Summary
Our rental operations include our residential and commercial rentals, leased land operations and organic recycling.
We own and maintain 256 residential housing units located in Ventura and Tulare Counties in California that we lease to employees, former employees and non-employees. We also own several commercial office buildings and as with our residential housing units, these properties generate reliable cash flows that we use to partially fund the operating costs of our business. As of October 31, 2020, we lease approximately 500 acres of our land to third-party agricultural tenants who grow a variety of row crops. Our leased land business provides us with a profitable method to diversify the use of our land. We also partner with one of our tenants and have an organic recycling facility on our land in Ventura County.
Real Estate Development Summary
We invest in real estate development projects and recognize that long-term strategies are required for successful real estate development activities. Our goal is to redeploy real estate earnings and cash flow into the expansion of our agribusiness and other income producing real estate. For real estate development projects and joint ventures, it is not unusual for the timing and amounts of revenues and costs, partner contributions and distributions, project loans, other financing assumptions and project cash flows to be impacted by government approvals, project revenue and cost estimates and assumptions, economic conditions, financing sources and product demand as well as other factors. Such factors could affect our results of operations, cash flows and liquidity.
For more than 100 years, we have been making strategic real estate investments in California agricultural and developable real estate. Our current real estate developments include developable land parcels, multi-family housing and single-family homes with approximately 1,150 units in various stages of planning and development. The following is a summary of each of the strategic agricultural and development real estate investment properties in which we own an interest:
East Area I - Santa Paula, California. East Area I consists of 523 acres that we historically used as agricultural land and is located in Santa Paula approximately ten miles from the City of Ventura and the Pacific Ocean. This property is also known as our Teague McKevett Ranch. We believe East Area I is an ideal location for a master planned community of commercial and residential properties designed to satisfy expected demand in a region that we believe will have few other developments in this coming decade. In 2008, after we completed a process of community planning and environmental review, the citizens of Santa Paula voted to approve the annexation of East Area I into Santa Paula. This vote was a requirement of the Save Open-Space and Agricultural Resources (“SOAR”), ordinance that mandates a public vote of the City of Santa Paula for land use conversion.
In November 2015, we entered into the Joint Venture with Lewis for the residential development of our East Area I real estate development project. To consummate the transaction, we formed LLCB as the development entity, contributed our East Area I property to the Joint Venture and sold a 50% interest in the Joint Venture to Lewis for $20.0 million. We expect to receive approximately $100.0 million from the Joint Venture over the estimated 10 to 12-year life of the project, including $20.0 million received on the consummation of the Joint Venture. The Joint Venture partners will share in capital contributions to fund project costs until loan proceeds and/or revenues are sufficient to fund the project. Since inception, each Joint Venture partner has made funding contributions of $21.4 million, including $2.8 million, $4.0 million and $3.5 million in fiscal years 2020, 2019 and 2018, respectively. The first phase of the project broke ground to commence mass grading in November 2017. Project plans include approximately 1,500 residential units with 632 residential units in Phase 1 and site improvements substantially completed. Lot sales
representing 144 and 210 residential units closed in fiscal years 2020 and 2019, respectively and 354 residential units have closed from the project's inception to October 31, 2020. The Joint Venture closed an additional 44 units in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021.
East Area II - Santa Paula, California. Our design associates and we are in the process of formulating plans for East Area II, a parcel of approximately 30 acres adjacent to East Area I. East Area II is also a part of our Teague McKevett Ranch, which we believe is suited to commercial and/or industrial development along the south side of California Highway 126, a heavily traveled corridor that connects Highway 101 at Ventura on the west with Interstate 5 at Santa Clarita on the east. When completed, we expect that the development will contribute to the economic vitality of the region and allow residents to work and shop within close proximity to their homes.
The successful development of East Area II will be partly dependent on the success of East Area I. We expect that East Area II could accommodate large retailers, a medium or large employer, a complex of mixed business and retail, or some combination of the foregoing. We are actively cultivating prospects to become future tenants in East Area II and expect that development will closely follow the build-out of East Area I.
Santa Maria - Santa Barbara County, California. As of October 31, 2020, we were invested in one entitled development parcel, Sevilla, located in Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County, California. In the first quarter of fiscal year 2020, the Company entered into an agreement to sell its Sevilla property for $2.7 million, which is expected to close in fiscal year 2021.
Markets and Competitive Strengths
With agricultural operations dating back to 1893, we are one of California’s oldest citrus growers and one of the largest growers of lemons and avocados in the United States. Consequently, we have developed significant experience with a variety of crops, mainly lemons, avocados and oranges. The following is a brief list of what we believe are our significant competitive strengths with respect to our agribusiness operations:
•Our agricultural properties in Ventura County are located near the Pacific Ocean, which provides an ideal environment for growing lemons, avocados and row crops. Our agricultural properties in Tulare County, which is in the San Joaquin Valley in Central California, and in Yuma, Arizona, are also located in areas that are well-suited for growing citrus crops.
•Historically, a higher percentage of our crops go to the fresh market, which is commonly referred to as fresh utilization, than that of other growers and packers with which we compete.
•We have contiguous and nearby land resources that permit us to efficiently use our agricultural land and resources.
•In all but one of our properties, we are not dependent on State or Federal water projects to support our agribusiness or real estate development operations.
•We own approximately 94% of our agricultural land and take a long view on our fruit production practices.
•A significant amount of our agribusiness property was acquired many years ago, which results in a low-cost basis and associated expenses.
•In our fresh lemons and lemon packing segments, our integrated business model with respect to growing, packing, marketing and selling lemons allows us to better serve our customers.
•Our lemon packing operations provide marketing opportunities with other citrus companies and their respective products.
•We have made investments in ground-based solar projects that provide us with tangible and intangible non-revenue generating benefits. The electricity generated by these investments provides us with a significant portion of the electricity required to operate our packinghouse and cold storage facilities located in Santa Paula, California and provides a significant portion of the electricity required to operate four deep-water well pumps at one of our ranches in Tulare County, California. Additionally, these investments support our sustainable agricultural practices, reduce our dependence on fossil-based electricity generation and lower our carbon footprint. Moreover, electricity that we generate and do not use is conveyed seamlessly back to the investor-owned utilities operating in these two markets. Finally, over time, we expect that our customers and the end consumers of our fruit will value the investments that we have made in renewable energy as a part of our farming and packing operations, which we believe may help us differentiate our products from similar commodities.
•We have made various other investments in water rights and mutual water companies. We own shares in the following mutual water companies: Farmers Irrigation Co., Canyon Irrigation Co., San Cayetano Mutual Water Co., Middle Road
Mutual Water Co. and Pioneer Water Company, Inc. Additionally, we acquired water rights in the adjudicated Santa Paula Basin (aquifer), the YMIDD and in Chile.
Real Estate Development Operations
With respect to our real estate development operations, we believe our competitive advantages are as follows:
•We have entitlements to build approximately 1,500 residential units in our East Area I (Harvest at Limoneira) development.
•We have partnered with an experienced and financially strong land developer for our East Area I residential master plan development.
•Several of our agricultural and real estate investment properties are unique and carry longer-term development potential.
•Our East Area II property has approximately 30 acres of land commercially zoned, which is adjacent to our East Area I property.
We are an agribusiness and real estate development company that generates annual cash flows to support investments in agricultural and real estate development activities. As our agricultural and real estate development investments are monetized, we intend to seek to expand our agribusiness into new regions and markets and invest in cash-producing residential, commercial and industrial rental assets.
The following describes the key elements of our business strategy.
With respect to our agribusiness operations, key elements of our strategy are:
•Acquire Additional Lemon Producing Properties. To the extent attractive opportunities arise and our capital availability permits, we intend to consider the acquisition of additional lemon producing properties. In order to be considered, such properties would need to have certain characteristics to provide acceptable returns, such as an adequate source of water, a warm micro-climate and well-drained soils. We anticipate that the most attractive opportunities to acquire lemon producing properties will be in South America and in the San Joaquin Valley near our existing operations in Tulare County, California.
•Expand our Sources of Lemon Supply. Peak lemon production occurs at different times of the year depending on geographic region. In addition to our lemon production in California and Arizona and lemons we acquire from third-party growers, we have expanded our lemon supply sources to international markets such as Mexico, Chile and Argentina. Increases in lemons procured from third-party growers and international sources improve our ability to provide our customers with fresh lemons throughout the year.
•Increase the Volume of our Lemon Packing Operations. We regularly monitor our costs for redundancies and opportunities for cost reductions. In this regard, cost per carton is a function of throughput. We continually seek to acquire additional lemons from third-party growers to pack through our plants. Third-party growers are only added if we determine their fruit is of good quality and can be cost effective for both the grower and us. Of most importance is the overall fresh utilization rate for our fruit, which is directly related to quality.
•Expand International Production and Marketing of Lemons. We estimate that we currently have approximately 10% of the fresh lemon market in the United States and a larger share of the United States lemon export market. We intend to explore opportunities to expand our international production and marketing of lemons. We have the ability to supply a wide range of customers and markets and, because we produce high quality lemons, we can export our lemons to international customers, which many of our competitors are unable to supply.
•Construction of an Updated Lemon Packinghouse. Over the years, new machinery and equipment along with upgrades have been added to our original packinghouse and cold storage facilities. This, along with an aggressive and proactive maintenance program, has allowed us to operate an efficient, competitive lemon packing facility. A project to double the capacity and increase the efficiency of our lemon packing facilities became operational in fiscal year 2016. We expect that
this project will has increased fresh lemon processing capacity and lower packing costs by reducing labor and handling inputs.
•Opportunistically Expand our Plantings of Avocados, Oranges, Specialty Citrus and Other Crops. Our plantings of avocados, oranges, specialty citrus and other crops have been profitable and have been pursued to diversify our product line. Agricultural land that we believe is not suitable for lemons is typically planted with oranges, specialty citrus or other crops. While we may expand our avocados, oranges, specialty citrus and other crops, we expect to do so on an opportunistic basis in locations that we believe offer a record of historical profitability.
•Maintain our Relationship with Calavo. Our alignment with Calavo comprises our current marketing strategy for avocados. Calavo has expanded its sourcing into other regions of the world, including Mexico, Chile and Peru, which allows it to supply avocados to its retail and food service customers on a year-round basis. California avocados occupy a unique market window in the year-round supply chain and Calavo has experienced a general expansion of volume as consumption has grown. Thus, we intend to continue to have a strong and viable market for our California avocados.
With respect to our rental operations and real estate development activities, key elements of our strategy include the following:
•Secure Additional Rental and Housing Units. Our housing, commercial and land rental operations provide us with a consistent, dependable source of cash flow that helps to fund our overall activities. Additionally, we believe our housing rental operation allows us to offer a unique benefit to our employees.
•Opportunistically Lease Land to Third-Party Crop Farmers. We regularly monitor the profitability of our fruit-producing acreage to ensure acceptable per acre returns. When we determine that leasing the land to third-party row crop farmers would be more profitable than farming the land, we intend to seek third-party row crop tenants.
•Opportunistically Expand our Income-Producing Commercial and Industrial Rental Assets. We intend to redeploy our future financial gains to acquire additional income-producing real estate investments and agricultural properties.
•Selectively and Responsibly Develop our Agricultural Land. We recognize that long-term strategies are required for successful real estate development activities. We thus intend to maintain our position as a responsible agricultural landowner and major employer in Ventura County while focusing our real estate development activities on those agricultural land parcels that we believe offer the best opportunities to demonstrate our long-term vision for our community.
We market and sell our lemons directly to our food service, wholesale and retail customers in the United States, Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe and certain other international markets. We sold lemons to approximately 230 U.S. and international customers during fiscal year 2020. We sell a majority of our avocados to Calavo. Our oranges, specialty citrus and other crops are sold through Sunkist and other third-party packinghouses and our wine grapes are sold to wine producers.
Information about Geographic Areas
During fiscal years 2020, 2019 and 2018, we had an aggregate of approximately $3.5 million, $3.2 million and $2.8 million of total sales in Chile by PDA and San Pablo, respectively. During fiscal years 2020 and 2019, we had an aggregate of approximately $14.2 million and $14.7 million of total sales in Argentina by Trapani Fresh. The majority of our avocados, oranges and specialty citrus and other crops are sold to packinghouses and processors located in the United States.
The agribusiness crop markets are intensely competitive, but no single producer has any significant market power over any market segments, as is consistent with the production of most agricultural commodities. Generally, there are a large number of global producers that sell through joint marketing organizations and cooperatives. Fruit is also sold to independent packers, both public and private, who then sell to their own customer base. Customers are typically large retail chains, food service companies, industrial manufacturers and distributors who sell and deliver to smaller customers in local markets throughout the world. In the purest sense, our largest competitors in our agribusiness segments are other citrus and avocado producers in California, Mexico, Chile, Argentina and Florida, a number of which are members of cooperatives such as Sunkist or have selling relationships with Calavo similar to
that of Limoneira. Our lemons and oranges also compete with other fruits and vegetables for the share of consumer expenditures devoted to fresh fruit and vegetables: apples, pears, melons, pineapples and other tropical fruit. Avocado products compete in the supermarket with hummus products and other dips and salsas. For our specific crops, the size of the U.S. market is approximately $690 million for lemons, both fresh and juice, approximately $400 million for avocados, and approximately $1.7 billion for oranges, both fresh and juice. Competition in the various agribusiness markets is affected by reliability of supply, product quality, brand recognition and perception, price and the ability to satisfy changing customer preferences through innovative product offerings.
The sale and leasing of residential, commercial and industrial real estate is very competitive, with competition coming from numerous and varied sources throughout California. Our greatest direct competition for each of our current real estate development properties in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties comes from other residential and commercial developments in nearby areas.
Resources and Raw Materials
In our fresh lemons and lemon packing segments, paper is considered a material raw product for our business because most of our products are packed in cardboard cartons for shipment. Paper is readily available and we have numerous suppliers for such material. In our agribusiness division, petroleum-based products such as herbicides and pesticides are considered raw materials and we have numerous suppliers for these products.
We have numerous trademarks and brands under which we market and sell our fruits, particularly lemons, domestically and internationally, many of which have been owned for decades. The material brands of Limoneira lemons include, but are not limited to, Santa®, Paula®, Bridal Veil®, Fountain®, Golden Bowl® and Level®. These trademarks are owned by us and registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. We also acquired certain lemon brands with acquisitions, including Kiva® and Kachina®, Oxnard Lemon, Uno, Sunny, Trapani, Argentinian Beauty, Natural and Trapani Fresh.
Seasonal Nature of Business
As with any agribusiness enterprise, our agribusiness operations are predominantly seasonal in nature. The harvest and sale of our lemons, avocados, oranges and specialty citrus and other crops occurs in all quarters, but is generally more concentrated during our third quarter. Our lemons are generally grown and marketed throughout the year, our avocados are primarily sold from January through August, our oranges are primarily sold from January through June, our specialty citrus is sold from November through April and our specialty crops, such as pistachios and wine grapes, are sold in September and October.
Environmental and Regulatory Matters
Our agribusiness and real estate development divisions are subject to a broad range of evolving federal, state and local environmental laws and regulations. For example, the growing, packing, storing and distributing of our products is extensively regulated by various federal and state agencies. The California State Department of Food and Agriculture oversees our packing and processing of lemons and conducts tests for fruit quality and packaging standards. We are also subject to laws and regulations that govern the use of pesticides and other potentially hazardous substances and the treatment, handling, storage and disposal of materials and waste and the remediation of contaminated properties. Advertising of our products is subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission and our operations are subject to certain health and safety regulations, including those issued under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
We seek to comply at all times with all such laws and regulations and to obtain any necessary permits and licenses, and we are not aware of any instances of material non-compliance. We believe our facilities and practices are sufficient to maintain compliance with applicable governmental laws, regulations, permits and licenses. Nevertheless, there is no guarantee that we will be able to comply with any future laws and regulations for necessary permits and licenses. Our failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations or obtain any necessary permits and licenses could subject us to civil remedies including fines, injunctions, recalls or seizures, as well as potential criminal sanctions. These remedies can increase costs, decrease revenues and lead to additional charges to earnings, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”)
Limoneira is an agricultural and community development company which, based upon its rich heritage and traditions, seeks not only to maximize value for its customers and shareholders, but also to enhance its legacy by employing sustainable practices in all aspects of operations including stewardship of both its natural and human resources. The Company recognizes the increased emphasis by shareholders, business partners and other key constituents in recent years on ESG programs that are embedded into
day-to-day business policies and practices. The Company is proud of its commitment to doing the right thing for communities, the environment and its employees.
Corporate responsibility is an important priority for the Company and its Board of Directors. We have a long history of strong commitment to being an ethical and responsible company acting with integrity and respect for each other, our communities and the environment. The Board of Directors tasked the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee with the responsibility for overseeing our environmental, social responsibility and sustainability programs and practices, including the consideration of potential long- and short-term trends and impacts that environmental and social responsibility and sustainability issues may have related to our business.
Sustainability has been a mindset at Limoneira that was instilled by the Company’s founders over 127 years ago and is the basis of our corporate culture at Limoneira. Not only does Limoneira’s sustainable agriculture address many environmental and social concerns, it offers innovative and economically viable opportunities for Limoneira and other producers, employees, consumers, and policy makers in the entire global food system.
From 2010 to 2019, we achieved and maintained GLOBALG.A.P. certification by successfully demonstrating our adherence to specific Good Agricultural Practices ("GAP") and other farming standards. Beginning in fiscal 2020, Limoneira has received the highest rating (Superior) from Primus Labs, the first certification body of the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI). PrimusGFS is focused on the food safety of the agricultural sector products and establishes a series of GAP and other requirements for managing the production, handling, processing and storing operations. We believe that our certification differentiates us from our competitors and serves as reassurance to consumers and retailers that food reaches acceptable levels of safety and quality, and has been produced sustainably, respecting the health, safety and welfare of workers and the environment, and in consideration of animal welfare issues. Limoneira adheres to all food safety regulations and follows Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) as established in the Code of Federal Regulations (21 CFR 1 10), which have led to the Company’s food safety rating being one of the highest in the industry.
Limoneira has seven solar installations across the Company that produce a total of approximately seven million kilowatts annually and enable us to be approximately 50% off the grid. We also have a 750kWh Tesla scalable energy storage system that reduces energy costs, improves reliability for demand charges and shifts energy use from peak to off peak times.
Water is one of our world’s most valuable resources, and the supply of this natural resource faces continual pressure from growing populations, economic activities, and the increasing need for agricultural food production. Limoneira takes important steps to protect this resource. Our water quality and supply is maintained through ground water monitoring, rigorous lab testing, filtration systems, and a network of micro sprinklers. Limoneira constructed a natural wastewater treatment system using patented technology that is a low carbon footprint project with a series of gravity-fed ponds that circulate and clean 30 million gallons of water annually utilizing natural vegetation, local plants and fine gravels. Ultraviolet Rays (UV) remove any bacteria in the water to achieve California Title 22 drinking water standards.
With the help of one of our tenants, Agromin, Inc., a processor of premium soil products and a green waste recycler, we developed and implemented an innovative organic recycling facility on our land in Ventura County. This 10 acre facility receives green materials (lawn clipping, leaves, bark and other plant materials) that would typically go to landfills and converts such material into mulch that we spread throughout our agricultural properties to help curb erosion, improve water efficiency, reduce weeds and moderate soil temperatures.
Biological Pest Management
Limoneira was one of the founders of the Integrated Pest Management program in Ventura County. We have been working with Associates Insectary since 1928 to minimize the use of pesticides by releasing beneficial insects into orchards to control destructive agricultural pests.
Social and Human Capital Resources
Limoneira is committed to protecting the human rights, safety and dignity of the people who contribute to the success of our business. We also seek to support the welfare of the people who produce, process and harvest the products we sell. At October 31, 2020, we had 299 employees, of which 104 were salaried and 195 were hourly. None of our employees is subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.
Health and Safety
Limoneira’s overall culture emphasizes the health and safety of our employees and the customers we serve. Our recent Take a Healthy Stand™ campaign showcases the many ways that lemons can play a role in helping to alleviate serious health issues and our free Nature’s Pharmacy™ app links items found in the produce section of local grocery stores to related health benefits. Our website offers tips, tricks, recipes and other ways to incorporate citrus into everyday life.
Limoneira has an Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP) and a Safety Guide and conforms to and follows all regulations and guidelines set forth by OSHA in all facilities and operations. Where the State’s guidelines, such as Cal OHSA, are different from the OSHA standard, Limoneira adheres to the most extensive guideline. We have excellent results from our safety programs compared to similar companies within our industry. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have implemented, and continue to improve, appropriate safety measures in all of our facilities and locations. The Company offers comprehensive health insurance coverage to all employees and has a supplemental wellness program.
Limoneira has always operated on the principle that all businesses are only as successful as their employees – and content employees are motivated employees. We have a well-trained and retentive labor force with many employees remaining with us for more than 30 years. We offer competitive pay and best-in-class benefits, including a 401k plan with both profit sharing and safe-harbor matching contributions. With approximately 87% of our workforce Hispanic or Latino, to avoid language barriers, we provide bilingual company communications and educational programs such as English as a Second Language. Our new initiative "Every Box Counts" emphasizes our employees’ pride in delivering quality produce from farm to table.
We own and maintain 256 residential housing units located in Ventura and Tulare Counties in California that we lease to employees, former employees and non-employees. Our residential units provide affordable housing to many of our employees, including our agribusiness employees. Employees live close to their work, which reduces traffic and commuting times. This unique employment benefit helps us maintain a dependable, long-term employee base.
Community Development and Philanthropy
We have deep roots in our community and each year we collaborate with and devote resources to many worthwhile entities that make our region a special place to live and work. We fund children’s agricultural education, college scholarships, health and human services, industry, community, cultural events and projects that make our communities more vibrant and sustainable. Limoneira also founded a federal credit union onsite to provide agricultural employees an opportunity to accumulate savings and create a source of credit. Management and employees volunteer time and resources for various industry, community and non-profit organizations by serving on their boards and committees and staffing events. Our Harvest at Limoneira master-planned community continues our long history of building, integrating and sustaining community to promote economic, social and cultural vitality in our community.
Limoneira supports the efforts of the Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association to create an industry-wide framework on the responsible production and procurement of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers. The Ethical Charter on Responsible Labor Practices captures this mission and we adhere to the charter’s guiding principles regarding opposing
discrimination in any form. We live by our Supplier Code of Conduct in how we approach our business. This Code is global in its scope, and applies to all suppliers and their facilities, as well as our manufacturing facilities. In order to align with international standards, the Code is derived from the policies, standards, and conventions of the United Nations (UN) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), as well as other leading independent standards such as the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP). Limoneira’s Board and Management expect the Company’s vendors, suppliers and their products and services to adhere to similar environmental standards.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Agribusiness Operations
Adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, including earthquakes and wildfires, and other natural conditions, including the effects of climate change, could impose significant costs and losses on our business.
Fresh produce is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, including windstorms, floods, drought and temperature extremes, which are quite common and may occur with higher frequency or be less predictable in the future due to the effects of climate change. Unfavorable growing conditions can reduce both crop size and crop quality. In extreme cases, entire harvests may be lost in some geographic areas.
All of our crops are subject to damage from frosts and freezes, and this has happened periodically in the recent past. In some cases, the fruit is damaged or ruined; in the case of extended periods of cold, the trees can also be damaged or killed.
Additionally, a significant portion of our agricultural plantings and our corporate headquarters are located in a region of California that is prone to natural disasters such as earthquakes and wildfires. For example, in December 2017, high winds and the related Southern California wildfires caused a brief power outage at our Santa Paula, California packinghouse and destroyed 14 of our 256 farm worker housing units. While our orchards did not suffer significant damage in the wildfire, the potential for significant damage to a substantial amount of our plantings from a natural disaster in the future continues to exist. Furthermore, if a natural disaster or other event occurs that prevents us from using all or a significant portion of our corporate headquarters, as a result of a power outage or otherwise, or that damages critical infrastructure, it may be difficult or, in certain cases, impossible for us to continue our business for a substantial amount of time.
For the foregoing reasons, adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, including earthquakes and wildfires, or other natural conditions, including the effects of climate change, could severely disrupt our operations, and have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations, financial condition and prospects.
Our agricultural plantings are potentially subject to damage from disease and pests, which could impose losses on our business and the prevention of which could impose significant additional costs on us.
Fresh produce is also vulnerable to crop disease and to pests, e.g., Mediterranean Fruit Fly and the Asian Citrus Psyllid (“ACP”), which may vary in severity and effect, depending on the stage of production at the time of infection or infestation, the type of treatment applied and climatic conditions.
One such pest is ACP, an aphid–like insect that is a serious pest to all citrus plants because it can transmit the disease, Huanglongbing (“HLB”), when it feeds on the plants’ leaves and trees. By itself, ACP causes only minor cosmetic damage to citrus trees. HLB, however, is considered one of the most devastating diseases of citrus in the world. Trees infected with HLB decline in health, produce inedible fruit and eventually die, usually in 3 to 5 years after becoming infected. Currently, there is no cure for the disease and infected trees must be removed and destroyed to prevent further spreading.
ACP is a federal action quarantine pest subject to interstate and international quarantine restrictions by the United States Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), including a prohibition on the movement of nursery stock out of quarantine areas and a requirement that all citrus fruit be cleaned of leaves and stems prior to movement out of the quarantine area. ACP and HLB exist domestically in Florida, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina and Texas and internationally in countries such as Mexico. ACP exists in California, including in our orchards. To date, HLB has also been detected in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties in California. There can be no assurance that HLB will not be further detected in the future. Due to the discovery of ACP in our orchards, we have experienced costs related to the quarantine and treatment of ACP and incurred approximately $0.8 million of costs in fiscal year 2020 related to pest control efforts targeted against ACP. To date, there has been no HLB detected in our orchards.
There are a number of registered insecticides known to be effective against ACP. However, certain markets and customer responses to the discovery of ACP and the related quarantine could result in a significant decline in revenue due to restrictions on where our lemons can be sold and lower demand for our lemons. Additional government regulations and other quarantine requirements or customer handling and inspection requirements could increase agribusiness costs to us. Our citrus orchards could be at risk if ACP starts to transmit the HLB disease to our trees. Agribusiness costs could also increase significantly as a result of HLB. For example, a study in Florida indicated the presence of HLB has increased citrus production costs by as much as 40%.
The costs to control these diseases and other infestations vary depending on the severity of the damage and the extent of the plantings affected. Moreover, there can be no assurance that available technologies to control such infestations will continue to be effective. These infestations can increase costs, decrease revenues and lead to additional charges to earnings, which may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our strategy of marketing and selling our lemons directly to our food service, wholesale and retail customers may not continue to be successful.
Directly obtaining and retaining customers, particularly chain stores and other large customers, is highly competitive, and the prices or other terms of our sales arrangements may not be sufficient to retain existing business, maintain current levels of profitability or obtain new business. Industry consolidation (horizontally and vertically) and other factors have increased the buying leverage of the major grocery retailers in our markets, which may put further downward pressure on our pricing and volume and could adversely affect our results of operations.
We depend on our relationship with Calavo and their ability to sell our avocados. Any disruption in this relationship could harm our sales.
We sell a majority of the avocados we grow to Calavo and depend on their willingness and ability to market and sell our avocados to consumers. Calavo sources its avocados from many growers and we cannot control who they will purchase from and how large their orders may be. Should there be any change in our current relationship structure, whereby they buy a majority of our avocado crop, we would need to find replacement buyers to purchase our remaining crop, which could take time and expense and may result in less favorable terms of sale. Any loss of Calavo as a customer on a whole may cause a material loss in our profits, as it may take time to fill any such void.
Our earnings are sensitive to fluctuations in market supply and prices and demand for our products.
Excess supplies often cause severe price competition in our industry. Growing conditions in various parts of the world, particularly weather conditions such as windstorms, floods, droughts and freezes, as well as diseases and pests, are primary factors affecting market prices because of their influence on the supply and quality of product. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has also reduced the demand for our products resulting in excess supplies.
Fresh produce is highly perishable and generally must be brought to market and sold soon after harvest. Some items, such as avocados, oranges and specialty citrus, must be sold more quickly, while other items, such as lemons, can be held in cold storage for longer periods of time. The selling price received for each type of produce depends on all of these factors, including the availability and quality of the produce item in the market and the availability and quality of competing types of produce.
In addition, general public perceptions regarding the quality, safety or health risks associated with particular food products could reduce demand and prices for some of our products. To the extent that consumer preferences evolve away from products that we produce for health or other reasons, and we are unable to modify our products or to develop products that satisfy new consumer preferences, there will be a decreased demand for our products. However, even if market prices are unfavorable, produce items which are ready to be, or have been, harvested must be brought to market promptly. A decrease in the selling price received for our products due to the factors described above could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Our earnings may be subject to seasonal variability.
Our earnings may be affected by seasonal factors, including:
•the seasonality of our supplies and consumer demand;
•the ability to process products during critical harvest periods; and
•the timing and effects of ripening and perishability.
Our lemons are generally grown and marketed throughout the year. Our Navel oranges are sold generally from January through April and our Valencia oranges are sold generally from June through September. Our avocados are sold generally from January through August. Our specialty citrus is sold generally from November through June and our pistachios and wine grapes are sold generally in September and October.
Increases in commodity or raw product costs, such as fuel and paper, could adversely affect our operating results.
Many factors may affect the cost and supply of fresh produce, including external conditions, commodity market fluctuations, currency fluctuations, changes in governmental laws and regulations, agricultural programs, severe and prolonged weather conditions and natural disasters. Increased costs for purchased fruit have negatively impacted our operating results in the past, and there can be no assurance that they will not adversely affect our operating results in the future.
The price of various commodities can significantly affect our costs. The cost of petroleum-based products is volatile and there can be no assurance that there will not be further increases in such costs in the future. If the price of oil rises, the costs of our herbicides and pesticides can be significantly impacted.
The cost of paper is also significant to us because some of our products are packed in cardboard boxes for shipment. If the price of paper increases and we are not able to effectively pass these price increases along to our customers, then our operating income will decrease. Increased costs for paper have negatively impacted our operating income in the past, and there can be no assurance that these increased costs will not adversely affect our operating results in the future.
Increases in labor, personnel and benefits costs could adversely affect our operating results.
We primarily utilize labor contractors to grow, harvest and deliver our fruit to our lemon packinghouse or outside packing facilities. We utilize a combination of employees and labor contractors to process our lemons in our lemon packing facility. Our employees and contractors are in demand by other agribusinesses and other industries. Shortages of labor could delay our harvesting or lemon processing activities or could result in increases in labor costs.
Our labor contractors and we are subject to government mandated wage and benefit laws and regulations. For example, the State of California, where a substantial number of our labor contractors are located, passed regulations that increased minimum wage rates from $13.00 per hour to $14.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2021, and will increase to $15.00 per hour in 2022. The State of Arizona also increased minimum wage rates from $11.00 per hour to $12.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2020, and effective January 1, 2021 the wage rates will rise each year based on the annual cost of living. In addition, current or future federal or state healthcare legislation and regulation, including the Affordable Care Act, may increase our medical costs or the medical costs of our labor contractors that could be passed on to us.
Changes in immigration laws could impact the ability of Limoneira to harvest its crops.
We engage third parties to provide personnel for our harvesting operations. The availability and number of such workers is subject to decrease if there are changes in U.S. immigration laws. The states in which we operate are considering or have already adopted new immigration laws or enforcement programs, and the U.S. Congress and the Department of Homeland Security from time to time consider and may implement changes to federal immigration laws, regulations or enforcement programs. Immigration laws have recently been an area of considerable focus by the Department of Homeland Security, with enforcement operations taking place across the country, resulting in arrests and detentions of unauthorized workers. Termination of a significant number of personnel who are found to be unauthorized workers or the scarcity of available personnel to harvest our agricultural products could cause harvesting costs to increase or could lead to the loss of product that is not timely harvested, which could have a material adverse effect to our citrus grove operations, financial position, results of operations and cash flows.
The lack of sufficient water would severely impact our ability to produce crops or develop real estate.
The average rainfall in Ventura, Tulare, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino Counties in California is substantially below amounts required to grow crops and therefore we are dependent on our rights to pump water from underground aquifers. Extended periods of drought in California may put additional pressure on the use and availability of water for agricultural uses, and in some cases, governmental authorities have diverted water to other uses. As California has grown in population, there are increasing and multiple pressures on the use and distribution of water, which many view as a finite resource. Lack of available potable water can also limit real estate development.
Our water resources include water rights, usage rights and pumping rights to the water in aquifers under, and canals that run through, the land we own. Water for our farming operations is sourced from the existing water resources associated with our land, which includes rights to water in the adjudicated Santa Paula Basin (aquifer) and the un-adjudicated Fillmore and Paso Robles Basins (aquifers). We use ground water and water from local water districts in Tulare County and we use ground water in San Bernardino County. Following our acquisition of Associated, we began using federal project water in Arizona from the Colorado River through the YMIDD. We also have acquired water rights in Chile related to our acquisitions of PDA and San Pablo.
California has historically experienced periods of below average precipitation. The governor of California declared a drought State of Emergency in February 2014 and the next few years were among the most severe droughts on record. Rainfall, snow levels and water content of snow pack were significantly below historical averages. These conditions resulted in reduced water levels in streams, rivers, lakes, aquifers and reservoirs. Precipitation in 2017 brought relief to California’s drought conditions and the State of Emergency was lifted in April 2017. California has experienced below average precipitation two of the last three years and according to the US Drought Monitor, the 2020 season ended with California experiencing abnormally dry drought conditions. Federal officials oversee the Central Valley Project, California’s largest water delivery system and 100% of the contracted amount of water was provided to San Joaquin Valley farmers in 2017 through 2020 compared to 75% in 2016 and zero in 2015 and 2014.
For fiscal year 2020, irrigation costs for our agricultural operations were $0.1 million lower than fiscal year 2019. Costs may increase as we pump more water than our historical averages and federal, state and local water delivery infrastructure costs may increase to access these limited water supplies. We have an ongoing plan for irrigation improvements in fiscal year 2021 that includes drilling new wells and upgrading existing wells and irrigation systems.
We believe we have access to adequate supplies of water for our agricultural operations as well as our real estate development and rental operations and currently do not anticipate that future drought conditions will have a material impact on our operating results. However, if future drought conditions are worse than prior drought conditions or if regulatory responses to such conditions limit our access to water, our business could be negatively impacted by these conditions and responses in terms of access to water and/or cost of water.
The use of herbicides, pesticides and other potentially hazardous substances in our operations may lead to environmental damage and result in increased costs to us.
We use herbicides, pesticides and other potentially hazardous substances in the operation of our business. We may have to pay for the costs or damages associated with the improper application, accidental release or use or misuse of such substances. Our insurance may not be adequate to cover such costs or damages or may not continue to be available at a price or under terms that are satisfactory to us. In such cases, payment of such costs or damages could have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.
Environmental and other regulation of our business, including potential climate change regulation, could adversely impact us by increasing our production cost or restricting our ability to import certain products into the United States.
Our business depends on the use of fertilizers, pesticides and other agricultural products. The use and disposal of these products in some jurisdictions are subject to regulation by various agencies. A decision by a regulatory agency to significantly restrict the use of such products that have traditionally been used in the cultivation of one of our principal products could have an adverse impact on us. Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, the EPA is undertaking a series of regulatory actions relating to the evaluation and use of pesticides in the food industry. Similarly, in the EU, regulation (EC) No. 1107/2009 fundamentally changed the pesticide approval process to hazard criteria based on the intrinsic properties of the substance. These actions and future actions regarding the availability and use of pesticides could have an adverse effect on us. In addition, if a regulatory agency were to determine that we are not in compliance with a regulation in that agency’s jurisdiction, this could result in substantial penalties and a ban on the sale of part or all of our products in that jurisdiction.
A global economic downturn may have an adverse impact on participants in our industry, which cannot be fully predicted.
The full impact of a global economic downturn on customers, vendors and other business partners such as seen with the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be anticipated. For example, major customers or vendors may have financial challenges unrelated to us that could result in a decrease in their business with us or, in extreme cases, cause them to file for bankruptcy protection. Similarly, parties to contracts may be forced to breach their obligations under those contracts. Although we exercise prudent oversight of the credit ratings and financial strength of our major business partners and seek to diversify our risk to any single business partner, there can be no assurance that there will not be a bank, insurance company, supplier, customer or other financial partner that is unable to meet
its contractual commitments to us. Similarly, stresses and pressures in the industry may result in impacts on our business partners and competitors, which could have wide-ranging impacts on the future of the industry.
We are subject to the risk of product contamination and product liability claims.
The sale of food products for human consumption involves the risk of injury to consumers. Such injuries may result from tampering by unauthorized third parties, product contamination or spoilage, including the presence of foreign objects, substances, chemicals, other agents, or residues introduced during the growing, storage, handling or transportation phases. While we are subject to governmental inspection and regulations and believe our facilities comply in all material respects with all applicable laws and regulations, we cannot be sure that consumption of our products will not cause a health-related illness in the future or that we will not be subject to claims or lawsuits relating to such matters. Even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or is not fully pursued, the negative publicity surrounding any assertion that our products caused illness or injury could adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential customers and our corporate and brand image. Moreover, claims or liabilities of this sort might not be covered by our insurance or by any rights of indemnity or contribution that we may have against others. We maintain product liability insurance however, we cannot be sure that we will not incur claims or liabilities for which we are not insured or that exceed the amount of our insurance coverage.
We are subject to transportation risks.
An extended interruption in our ability to ship our products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, any extended disruption in the distribution of our products could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. While we believe we are adequately insured and would attempt to transport our products by alternative means if we were to experience an interruption due to strike, natural disasters or otherwise, we cannot be sure that we would be able to do so or be successful in doing so in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Events or rumors relating to LIMONEIRA or our other trademarks and related brands could significantly impact our business.
Consumer and institutional recognition of the LIMONEIRA, Santa®, Paula®, Bridal Veil®, Fountain®, Golden Bowl®, Level®, Kiva®, Kachina®, Oxnard Lemon, Uno, Sunny, Trapani, Argentinian Beauty, Natural and Trapani Fresh trademarks and related brands and the association of these brands with high quality and safe food products are an integral part of our business. The occurrence of any events or rumors that cause consumers and/or institutions to no longer associate these brands with high quality and safe food products may materially adversely affect the value of our brand names and demand for our products.
Government regulation could increase our costs of production and increase legal and regulatory expenses.
Growing, packaging, storing and distributing food products are activities subject to extensive federal, state and local regulation, as well as foreign regulation. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the “FDA”), the USDA and various state and local public health and agricultural agencies regulate these aspects of our operations. Our business is subject to the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to ensure food safety. This Act provides direct recall authority to the FDA and includes a number of other provisions designed to enhance food safety, including increased inspections by the FDA of food facilities. The Federal Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, which specifies standards for the sale, shipment, inspection and rejection of agricultural products, governs our relationships with our fresh food suppliers with respect to the grading and commercial acceptance of product shipments. Import and export controls and similar laws and regulations, in both the United States and elsewhere affect our business. Issues such as health and safety, which may slow or otherwise restrict imports and exports, could adversely affect our business. In addition, the modification of existing laws or regulations or the introduction of new laws or regulations could require us to make material expenditures or otherwise adversely affect the way that we have historically operated our business.
Our strategy to expand international production and marketing may not be successful and may subject us to risks associated with doing business in corrupt environments.
While we intend to expand our lemon supply sources to international markets and explore opportunities to expand our international production and marketing of lemons, we may not be successful in implementing this strategy. Additionally, in many countries outside of the United States, particularly in those with developing economies, it may be common for others to engage in business practices prohibited by laws and regulations applicable to us, such as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or similar local anti-bribery laws. These laws generally prohibit companies and their employees, contractors or agents from making improper payments to government officials for the purpose of obtaining or retaining business. Failure to comply with these laws could subject us to civil and criminal penalties that could materially and adversely affect our financial condition and results of operations.
We depend on our infrastructure to have sufficient capacity to handle our annual lemon production needs.
We have an infrastructure that has sufficient capacity for our lemon production needs, but if we lose machinery or facilities due to natural disasters or mechanical failure, we may not be able to operate at a sufficient capacity to meet our lemon production needs. This could have a material adverse effect on our business, which could impact our results of operations and our financial condition.
Risks Related to Our Indebtedness
We may be unable to generate sufficient cash flow to service our debt obligations.
To service our debt, we require a significant amount of cash. Our ability to generate cash, make scheduled payments or refinance our obligations depends on our successful financial and operating performance. Our financial and operating performance, cash flow and capital resources depend upon prevailing economic conditions and various financial, business and other factors, many of which are beyond our control. These factors include among others:
•economic and competitive conditions;
•changes in laws and regulations;
•operating difficulties, increased operating costs or pricing pressures we may experience; and
•delays in implementing any strategic projects.
If our cash flow and capital resources are insufficient to fund our debt service obligations, we may be forced to reduce or delay capital expenditures, sell material assets or operations, obtain additional capital or restructure our debt. If we are required to take any actions referred to above, it could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we cannot assure you that we would be able to take any of these actions on terms acceptable to us, or at all, or that these actions would enable us to continue to satisfy our capital requirements or that these actions would be permitted under the terms of our various debt agreements.
Restrictive covenants in our debt instruments restrict or prohibit our ability to engage in or enter into a variety of transactions, which could adversely restrict our financial and operating flexibility and subject us to other risks.
Our revolving and non-revolving credit and term loan facilities contain various restrictive covenants that limit our ability to take certain actions. In particular, these agreements limit our ability to, among other things:
•incur additional indebtedness;
•make certain investments or acquisitions;
•create certain liens on our assets;
•engage in certain types of transactions with affiliates;
•merge, consolidate or transfer substantially all our assets; and
•transfer and sell assets.
Our revolving and non-revolving credit facility with the Farm Credit West Credit Facility and our Wells Fargo Term Loan contain a financial covenant that requires us to maintain compliance with a specified debt service coverage ratio on an annual basis. In August 2020, Farm Credit West modified the covenant to defer measurement at October 31, 2020 with measurement resuming as of October 31, 2021. At October 31, 2020, we were not in compliance with the debt service coverage ratio for Wells Fargo and the non-compliance was waived. Our failure to comply with this covenant in the future may result in the declaration of an event of default under our Farm Credit West Credit Facility and Wells Fargo Term Loan.
Any or all of these covenants could have a material adverse effect on our business by limiting our ability to take advantage of financing, merger and acquisition or other corporate opportunities and to fund our operations. Any future debt could also contain financial and other covenants more restrictive than those imposed under our line of credit and term loan facilities. A breach of a covenant or other provision in any credit facility governing our current and future indebtedness could result in a default under that facility and, due to cross-default and cross-acceleration provisions, could result in a default under our other credit facilities. Upon the occurrence of an event of default under any of our credit facilities, the applicable lender(s) could elect to declare all amounts outstanding to be immediately due and payable and, with respect to our revolving credit facility, terminate all commitments to extend further credit. If we were unable to repay those amounts, our lenders could proceed against the collateral granted to them to
secure the indebtedness. If the lenders under our current or future indebtedness were to accelerate the payment of the indebtedness, we cannot assure you that our assets or cash flow would be sufficient to repay in full our outstanding indebtedness.
Despite our relatively high current indebtedness levels and the restrictive covenants set forth in agreements governing our indebtedness, we may still incur significant additional indebtedness, including secured and guaranteed indebtedness. Incurring more indebtedness could increase the risks associated with our substantial indebtedness.
Subject to the restrictions in our credit facilities, we may incur significant additional indebtedness. If new debt is added to our current debt levels, the related risks that we now face could increase.
In January 2018, the Joint Venture entered into a $45.0 million unsecured Line of Credit Loan Agreement and Promissory Note (the “Loan”) with Bank of America, N.A. to fund early development activities. The Loan originally matured in January 2020 and was extended to February 22, 2021 per the terms thereof. The interest rate on the Loan is LIBOR plus 2.85% and is payable monthly. The Loan contains certain customary default provisions and the Joint Venture may prepay any amounts outstanding under the Loan without penalty. In February 2018, certain principals from Lewis and by the Company guaranteed the obligations under the Loan. Defaults by the Joint Venture could increase our indebtedness.
Some of our debt is based on variable rates of interest, which could result in higher interest expenses in the event of an increase in the interest rates.
Our Farm Credit West Credit Facility currently bears interest at a variable rate, which will generally change as interest rates change. We bear the risk that the rates we are charged by our lender will increase faster than the earnings and cash flow of our business, which could reduce profitability, adversely affect our ability to service our debt, cause us to breach covenants contained in our Farm Credit West Credit Facility, which could materially adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Several of the Company’s debt agreements use LIBOR as a reference rate. The expected discontinuation of LIBOR after 2021 could have a significant impact on the Company if we cannot replace LIBOR with alternative reference rates at or below the current LIBOR rate.
Global capital and credit market issues affect our liquidity, increase our borrowing costs and may affect the operations of our suppliers and customers.
The global capital and credit markets have experienced increased volatility and disruption over the past several years, making it more difficult for companies to access those markets. We depend in part on stable, liquid and well-functioning capital and credit markets to fund our operations. Although we believe that our operating cash flows and existing credit facilities will permit us to meet our financing needs for the foreseeable future, there can be no assurance that continued or increased volatility and disruption in the capital and credit markets will not impair our liquidity or increase our costs of borrowing. Our business could also be negatively impacted if our suppliers or customers experience disruptions resulting from tighter capital and credit markets or a slowdown in the general economy.
Risks Related to Our Real Estate Development Operations
We are involved in a cyclical industry and are affected by changes in general and local economic conditions.
The real estate development industry is cyclical and is significantly affected by changes in general and local economic conditions, including:
•availability of financing;
•demand for the developed product, whether residential or industrial;
•supply of similar product, whether residential or industrial; and
•local, state and federal government regulation, including eminent domain laws, which may result in taking for less compensation than the owner believes the property is worth.
The process of project development and the commitment of financial and other resources occur long before a real estate project comes to market. A real estate project could come to market at a time when the real estate market is depressed. It is also possible in a rural area like ours that no market for the project will develop as projected.
A recession in the global economy, or a downturn in national or regional economic conditions, could adversely impact our real estate development business.
Future economic instability or tightening in the credit markets could lead to another housing market collapse, which could adversely affect our real estate development operations. Our future real estate sales, revenues, financial condition and results of operations could suffer as a result. Our business is especially sensitive to economic conditions in California and Arizona, where our properties are located.
Higher interest rates and lack of available financing can have significant impacts on the real estate industry.
Higher interest rates generally impact the real estate industry by making it harder for buyers to qualify for financing, which can lead to a decrease in the demand for residential, commercial or industrial sites. Any decrease in demand will negatively impact our proposed developments. Since the most recent recession, the U.S. Federal Reserve has taken actions that have resulted in low interest rates prevailing in the marketplace for a historically long period of time. Market interest rates may increase in the future and the increase may materially and negatively affect us. Lack of available credit to finance real estate purchases can also negatively impact demand. Any downturn in the economy or consumer confidence can also be expected to result in reduced housing demand and slower industrial development, which would negatively impact the demand for land we are developing.
We are subject to various land use regulations and require governmental approvals for our developments that could be denied.
In planning and developing our land, we are subject to various local, state, and federal statutes, ordinances, rules and regulations concerning zoning, infrastructure design, subdivision of land, and construction. All of our new developments require amending existing general plan and zoning designations, so it is possible that our entitlement applications could be denied. In addition, the zoning that ultimately is approved could include density provisions that would limit the number of homes and other structures that could be built within the boundaries of a particular area, which could adversely impact the financial returns from a given project. In addition, in the past, many states, cities and counties (including Ventura County) have approved various “slow growth” or “urban limit line” measures.
If unforeseen regulatory challenges with East Areas I and II occur, we may not be able to develop these projects as planned and the approximately $78.8 million investment we have in the projects could be impaired in the future.
Third-party litigation could increase the time and cost of our real estate development efforts.
The land use approval processes we must follow to ultimately develop our projects have become increasingly complex. Moreover, the statutes, regulations and ordinances governing the approval processes provide third parties the opportunity to challenge the proposed plans and approvals. As a result, the prospect of third-party challenges to planned real estate developments provides additional uncertainties in real estate development planning and entitlements. Third-party challenges in the form of litigation would, by their nature, adversely affect the length of time and the cost required to obtain the necessary approvals. In addition, adverse decisions arising from any litigation would increase the costs and length of time to obtain ultimate approval of a project and could adversely affect the design, scope, plans and profitability of a project.
We are subject to environmental regulations and opposition from environmental groups that could cause delays and increase the costs of our real estate development efforts or preclude such development entirely.
Environmental laws that apply to a given site can vary greatly according to the site’s location and condition, the present and former uses of the site, and the presence or absence of sensitive elements like wetlands and endangered species. Environmental laws and conditions may (i) result in delays, (ii) cause us to incur additional costs for compliance, where a significant amount of our developable land is located, mitigation and processing land use applications, or (iii) preclude development in specific areas. In addition, in California, third parties have the ability to file litigation challenging the approval of a project, which they usually do by alleging inadequate disclosure and mitigation of the environmental impacts of the project. While we have worked with representatives of various environmental interests and wildlife agencies to minimize and mitigate the impacts of our planned projects, certain groups opposed to development may oppose our projects vigorously, so litigation challenging their approval could occur. Recent concerns over the impact of development on water availability and global warming increases the breadth of potential obstacles that our developments face.
Our developable land is concentrated entirely in California and Arizona.
All of our developable land is located in California and Arizona, and our business is especially sensitive to the economic conditions within California. Any adverse change in the economic climate of California, Arizona, or our regions of those states, and any adverse change in the political or regulatory climate of California or Arizona, or the counties where our land is located in such states, could adversely affect our real estate development activities. Ultimately, our ability to sell or lease lots may decline as a result of weak economic conditions or restrictive regulations.
If the real estate industry weakens or instability of the mortgage industry and commercial real estate financing exists, it could have an adverse effect on our real estate activities.
If the residential real estate market weakens or instability of the mortgage industry and commercial real estate financing exists, our residential real estate business could be adversely affected. An excess supply of homes available due to foreclosures or the expectation of deflation in house prices could also have a negative impact on our ability to sell our inventory when it becomes available.
We rely on contractual arrangements with third party advisors to assist us in carrying out our real estate development projects and are subject to risks associated with such arrangements.
We utilize third party contractor and consultant arrangements to assist us in operating our real estate development segment. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing direct control over this business segment. For example, our third-party advisors could fail to take actions required for our real estate development businesses despite their contractual obligation to do so. If the third-party advisors fail to perform under their agreements with us, we may have to rely on legal remedies under the law, which may not be effective. In addition, we cannot assure you that our third-party advisors would always act in our best interests.
If we are unable to complete land development projects within forecasted time and budget expectations, if at all, our financial results may be negatively affected.
We intend to develop land and real estate properties as suitable opportunities arise, taking into consideration the general economic climate. New real estate development projects have a number of risks, including the following:
•Construction delays or cost overruns that may increase project costs;
•Receipt of zoning, occupancy and other required governmental permits and authorizations;
•Development costs incurred for projects that are not pursued to completion;
•Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods, fires or other natural disasters that could adversely affect a project;
•Defects in design or construction that may result in additional costs to remedy or require all or a portion of a property to be closed during the period required to rectify the situation;
•Our ability to raise capital;
•The impact of governmental assessments such as park fees or affordable housing requirements;
•Governmental restrictions on the nature and size of a project or timing of completion; and
•The potential lack of adequate building/construction capacity for large development projects.
If any development project is not completed on time or within budget, our financial results may be negatively affected.
If we are unable to obtain required land use entitlements at reasonable costs, or at all, our operating results would be adversely affected.
The financial performance of our real estate development activities is closely related to our success in obtaining land use entitlements for proposed development projects. Obtaining all of the necessary entitlements to develop a parcel of land is often difficult, costly and may take several years, or more, to complete. In some situations, we may be unable to obtain the necessary entitlements to proceed with a real estate development or may be required to alter our plans for the development. Delays or failures to obtain these entitlements may have a material adverse effect on our financial results.
We could experience a reduction in revenues or reduced cash flows if we are unable to obtain reasonably priced financing to support our real estate development projects and land development activities.
The real estate development industry is capital intensive, and development requires significant up-front expenditures to develop land and begin real estate construction. Accordingly, we have and may continue to incur substantial indebtedness to finance our real estate development and land development activities. Although we believe that internally generated funds and current and available borrowing capacity will be sufficient to fund our capital and other expenditures, including additional land acquisition, development and construction activities, and the amounts available from such sources may not be adequate to meet our needs. If such sources were insufficient, we would seek additional capital in the form of debt from a variety of potential sources, including bank financing. The availability of borrowed funds to be used for additional land acquisition, development and construction may be greatly reduced, and the lending community may require increased amounts of equity to be invested in a project by borrowers in connection with new loans. The failure to obtain sufficient capital to fund our planned expenditures could have a material adverse effect on our business and operations and our results of operations in future periods.
We may encounter risks associated with the real estate joint venture we entered into in November 2015 with the Lewis Group of Companies including:
•the joint venture may not perform financially or operationally as expected;
•land values, project costs, sales absorption or other assumptions included in the development plans may cause the joint venture’s operating results to be less than expected;
•the joint venture may not be able to obtain project loans on acceptable terms;
•the joint venture partners may not be able to provide capital to the joint venture in the event external financing or project cash flows are not sufficient to finance the joint venture’s operations;
•the joint venture partners may not manage the project properly; and
•disagreements could occur between the joint venture partners that could affect the operating results of the joint venture or could result in a sale of a partner’s interest or the joint venture at undesirable values.
We may encounter other risks that could impact our ability to develop our land.
We may also encounter other difficulties in developing our land, including:
•natural risks, such as geological and soil problems, earthquakes, fire, heavy rains and flooding and heavy winds;
•shortages of qualified trades people;
•reliance on local contractors, who may be inadequately capitalized;
•shortages of materials;
•increases in the cost of certain materials; and
•environmental remediation costs.
General Risks and Risks Related to Our Common Stock
Our business is highly competitive and we cannot assure you that we will maintain our current market share.
Many companies compete in our different businesses. However, only a few well-established companies operate on an international, national and regional basis with one or several product lines. We face strong competition from these and other companies in all our product lines.
Important factors with respect to our competitors include the following:
•Some of our competitors may have greater operating flexibility and, in certain cases, this may permit them to respond better or more quickly to changes in the industry or to introduce new products and packaging more quickly and with greater marketing support.
•We cannot predict the pricing or promotional actions of our competitors or whether those actions will have a negative effect on us.
There can be no assurance that we will continue to compete effectively with our present and future competitors, and our ability to compete could be materially adversely affected by our debt levels and debt service requirements.
Currency exchange fluctuation may impact the results of our operations.
We distribute our products both nationally and internationally. Our international sales are primarily transacted in U.S. dollars. Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in currency exchange rates in both sourcing and selling locations. In the past, periods of a strong U.S. dollar relative to other currencies have led international customers, particularly in Asia, to find alternative sources of fruit.
We are dependent on key personnel and the loss of one or more of those key personnel may materially and adversely affect our prospects.
We currently depend heavily on the services of our key management personnel. The loss of any key personnel could materially and adversely affect our results of operations, financial condition, or our ability to pursue land development. Our success will also depend in part on our ability to attract and retain additional qualified management personnel.
Inflation can have a significant adverse effect on our operations.
Inflation can have a major impact on our farming operations. The farming operations are most affected by escalating costs and unpredictable revenues (due to an oversupply of certain crops) and very high irrigation water costs. High fixed water costs related to our farm lands will continue to adversely affect earnings. Prices received for many of our products are dependent upon prevailing market conditions and commodity prices. Therefore, it is difficult for us to accurately predict revenue and we cannot pass on cost increases caused by general inflation, except to the extent reflected in market conditions and commodity prices.
System security risks, data protection breaches, cyber-attacks and systems integration issues could disrupt our internal operations or services provided to customers, and any such disruption could reduce our expected revenue, increase our expenses, damage our reputation and adversely affect our stock price.
Computer programmers and hackers may be able to penetrate our network security and misappropriate or compromise our confidential information or that of third parties, create system disruptions or cause shutdowns. Computer programmers and hackers also may be able to develop and deploy viruses, worms, and other malicious software programs that attack our products or otherwise exploit any security vulnerabilities of our products. In addition, sophisticated hardware and operating system software and applications that we produce or procure from third parties may contain defects in design or manufacture, including “bugs” and other problems that could unexpectedly interfere with the operation of the system. The costs to us to eliminate or alleviate cyber or other security problems, bugs, viruses, worms, malicious software programs and security vulnerabilities could be significant, and our efforts to address these problems may not be successful and could result in interruptions, delays, cessation of service and loss of existing or potential customers that may impede our sales, packing, distribution or other critical functions.
Portions of our IT infrastructure also may experience interruptions, delays or cessations of service or produce errors in connection with systems integration or migration work that takes place from time to time. We may not be successful in implementing new systems and transitioning data, which could cause business disruptions and be more expensive, time consuming, disruptive and resource-intensive. Such disruptions could adversely impact our ability to fulfill orders and interrupt other processes. Delayed sales, lower margins or lost customers resulting from these disruptions could adversely affect our financial results, stock price and reputation.
The acquisition of other businesses could pose risks to our operating income.
We intend to continue to consider acquisition prospects that we think complement our business. While we are not currently a party to any agreement with respect to any acquisitions, we may acquire other businesses in the future. Future acquisitions by us could result in accounting charges, potentially dilutive issuances of equity securities, and increased debt and contingent liabilities, any of which could have a material adverse effect on our business and the market price of our common stock. Acquisitions entail numerous risks, including the integration of the acquired operations, diversion of management’s attention to other business concerns, risks of entering markets in which we have limited prior experience, and potential loss of key employees of acquired organizations. We may be unable to successfully integrate businesses or the personnel of any business that might be acquired in the future, and our failure to do so could have a material adverse effect on our business and on the market price of our common stock.
The value of our common stock could be volatile.
Investing in our common stock involves a high degree of risk. There are numerous and varied risks, known and unknown, that may prevent us from achieving our goals. The risks described here are not the only ones we will face. If any of these risks or other risks actually occurs, our business, financial condition, results of operations or future prospects could be materially and adversely
affected. In such event, the trading price of our common stock could decline and investors in our common stock could lose all or part of their investment.
The overall market and the price of our common stock may fluctuate greatly and we cannot assure you that you will be able to resell shares at or above market price. The trading price of our common stock may be significantly affected by various factors, including:
•quarterly fluctuations in our operating results;
•changes in investors’ and analysts’ perception of the business risks and conditions of our business;
•our ability to meet the earnings estimates and other performance expectations of financial analysts or investors;
•unfavorable commentary or downgrades of our stock by equity research analysts;
•fluctuations in the stock prices of our peer companies or in stock markets in general; and
•general economic or political conditions.
Concentrated ownership of our common stock creates a risk of sudden change in our share price.
As of October 31, 2020, directors and members of our executive management team beneficially owned or controlled approximately 5.8% of our common stock. Investors who purchase our common stock may be subject to certain risks due to the concentrated ownership of our common stock. The sale by any of our large stockholders of a significant portion of that stockholder’s holdings could have a material adverse effect on the market price of our common stock. In addition, the registration of any significant amount of additional shares of our common stock will have the immediate effect of increasing the public float of our common stock and any such increase may cause the market price of our common stock to decline or fluctuate significantly.
Our charter documents contain provisions that may delay, defer or prevent a change of control.
Provisions of our certificate of incorporation and bylaws could make it more difficult for a third party to acquire control of us, even if the change in control would be beneficial to stockholders. These provisions include the following:
•division of our board of directors into three classes, with each class serving a staggered three-year term;
•removal of directors by stockholders by a supermajority of two-thirds of the outstanding shares;
•ability of the board of directors to authorize the issuance of preferred stock in series without stockholder approval; and
•prohibitions on our stockholders that prevent them from acting by written consent and limitations on calling special meetings.
We incur increased costs as a result of being a publicly traded company.
As a Company with publicly traded securities, we have incurred, and will continue to incur, significant legal, accounting and other expenses. In addition, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as rules promulgated by the SEC and NASDAQ, require us to adopt corporate governance practices applicable to U.S. public companies. These rules and regulations may increase our legal and financial compliance costs, which could adversely affect the trading price of our common stock.
We have identified a material weakness in our internal control over financial reporting which existed as of October 31, 2020. If we fail to properly remediate this or any future weaknesses or fail to maintain effective internal controls, there could be an adverse impact on our operations or the market price of our common stock.
Pursuant to Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, we are required to include in our annual reports on Form 10-K our assessment of the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting. As of October 31, 2020, a material weakness was detected related to an acquired foreign subsidiary in the first year the subsidiary was included in management's evaluation of the effectiveness of the Company's internal control over financial reporting. We are actively engaged in remediation activities designed to address the material weakness, but our remediation efforts are not complete and are ongoing. There can be no assurance that we will be able to implement fully our plan and controls to address this material weakness or that the plan and controls, if implemented, will be successful in remediating this material weakness. In addition, we may in the future identify further material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting that we have not discovered to date. If we cannot adequately maintain the effectiveness of our internal control over financial reporting, we might be subject to sanctions or investigation by regulatory authorities, such as the SEC. Any such action could adversely affect our financial results, cause investors to lose confidence in the reliability of our financial statements and result in a decrease in the value of our common stock.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments
Item 2. Properties
We own our corporate headquarters in Santa Paula, California. We own approximately 8,300 acres of farm land in California, with approximately 4,000 acres located in Ventura County, approximately 3,600 acres located in Tulare County in the San Joaquin Valley and approximately 700 acres in San Luis Obispo County. Additionally, we own approximately 1,300 acres located in Yuma, Arizona, 3,500 acres in La Serena, Chile and 1,200 acres in Jujuy, Argentina. In California, we lease approximately 30 acres of land located in Ventura County, approximately 80 acres in Tulare County and approximately 800 acres in San Bernardino County, and in Arizona, we lease approximately 65 acres of land located in Yuma County. We also have an interest in a partnership that owns approximately 200 acres of land in Ventura County. The land used for agricultural plantings consists of approximately 6,000 acres of lemons, approximately 900 acres of avocados, approximately 1,400 acres of oranges and approximately 900 acres of specialty citrus and other crops. Our agribusiness land holdings are summarized below as of October 31, 2020 (in thousands, except per acre amounts):
|Ranch Name||Acres||Book Value||Acquisition Date||Book Value|
|Limoneira/Olivelands Ranch||1,700 ||$||767 ||1907, 1913, 1920||$||451 |
|La Campana Ranch||300 ||758 ||1964||$||2,527 |
|Orchard Farm Ranch||1,100 ||3,240 ||1990||$||2,945 |
|Rancho La Cuesta Ranch||200 ||2,899 ||1994||$||14,495 |
|Porterville Ranch||700 ||6,427 ||1997||$||9,181 |
|Ducor Ranch||900 ||6,064 ||1997||$||6,738 |
|Jencks Ranch||100 ||846 ||2007||$||8,460 |
|Windfall Farms||700 ||16,162 ||2009||$||23,089 |
|Stage Coach Ranch||100 ||603 ||2012||$||6,030 |
|Martinez Ranch||200 ||1,363 ||2012||$||6,815 |
|Associated Citrus Packers||1,300 ||15,035 ||2013||$||11,565 |
|Lemons 400||800 ||5,180 ||2013||$||6,475 |
|Sheldon Ranches||600 ||9,618 ||2016||$||15,678 |
|Pan de Azucar||200 ||2,421 ||2017||$||12,105 |
|San Pablo||3,300 ||8,208 ||2018||$||2,487 |
|Santa Clara||1,200 ||8,600 ||2019||$||7,167 |
|Other agribusiness land||400 ||1,296 ||various||$||3,240 |
| ||13,800 ||$||89,487 || || |
The book value of our agribusiness land holdings of approximately $89.5 million differs from the land balance of $96.3 million included in property, plant and equipment in the notes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 of this Annual Report on Form 10-K. The table above presents our current land holdings in farming agribusiness operations and, therefore, excludes Oxnard Lemon land, rental and real estate development land.
We own our packing facilities located in Santa Paula and Oxnard, California and Yuma, Arizona, where we process and pack our lemons as well as lemons for other growers. We commissioned a new lemon packing facility in 2016 to increase capacity and efficiency of our lemon packing operations. We have a 5.5 acre, one-megawatt ground-based photovoltaic solar generator, which provides the majority of the power to operate our packing facility. We also have a one-megawatt solar array that provides us with a majority of the electricity required to operate four deep water well pumps at one of our ranches in the San Joaquin Valley.
We own 256 residential units in Ventura and Tulare Counties that we lease to our employees, former employees and outside tenants and we own several commercial office buildings and properties that are leased to various tenants.
We own real estate development property in the California counties of Santa Barbara and Ventura. These properties are in various stages of development for up to approximately 1,500 residential units and approximately 811,000 square feet of commercial space.
Water and Mineral Rights
Our water resources include water rights, usage rights and pumping rights to the water in aquifers under, and canals that run through, the land we own. We believe we have adequate supplies of water for our agribusiness segments as well as our rental and real estate development activities. Water for our farming operations located in Ventura County, California is sourced from the existing water resources associated with our land, which includes approximately 8,600 acre-feet of adjudicated water rights in the Santa Paula Basin (aquifer) and the un-adjudicated Fillmore Basin. We use a combination of ground water provided by wells that derive water from the San Joaquin Valley Basin and water from various water districts and irrigation districts in Tulare County, California, which is in the agriculturally productive San Joaquin Valley. We use ground water provided by wells that derive water from the Cadiz Valley Basin at the Cadiz Ranch in San Bernardino County, California. Our Windfall Farms property located in San Luis Obispo County, California obtains water from wells that derive water from the Paso Robles Basin. Our Associated farming operations in Yuma, Arizona source water from the Colorado River through the YMIDD, where we have access to approximately 11,700 acre feet of Class 3 Colorado River water rights. We also have acquired water rights in Chile from our acquisitions of PDA and San Pablo.
Our rights to extract groundwater from the Santa Paula Basin are governed by the Santa Paula Basin Judgment (the “Judgment”). The Judgment was entered into in 1996 by stipulation among the United Water Conservation District, the City of Ventura and various members of the Santa Paula Basin Pumpers Association (the “Association”). The Association is a not-for-profit, mutual benefit corporation, which represents the interests of all overlying landowners with rights to extract groundwater from the Santa Paula Basin and the City of Santa Paula. We are a member of the Association. Membership in the Association is governed by the Association's Bylaws.
The Judgment adjudicated and allocated water rights in the Santa Paula Basin among the Association's members and the City of Ventura. The water rights are established and governed by a seven-year moving average (i.e., production can rise or fall in any particular year so long as the seven-year average is not exceeded). Under California law, the water rights are considered "property". A perpetual right to water, evidenced by the Judgment, can be exchanged for interests in real property under IRS Code Section 1031 and if condemned by a public agency, just compensation must be paid to the rightful owner. Our rights under the Judgment are perpetual and considered very firm and reliable which reflects favorably upon their fair market value.
For ease of administration, the Association is appointed by the Judgment as the trustee of its members’ water rights and is responsible for coordinating and promoting the interests of its members. The Judgment includes provisions for staged reductions in production rights should shortage conditions develop. It also allows the adjudicated water rights to be leased or sold among the parties. The Judgment established a Technical Advisory Committee composed of the United Water Conservation District, the City of Ventura and the Association to assist the Superior Court of the State of California, Ventura County (the “Court”), with the technical aspects of Santa Paula Basin management. Finally, the Judgment reserves continuing jurisdiction to the Court to hear motions for enforcement or modification of the Judgment as necessary.
Our California water resources include approximately 17,000 acre-feet of water affiliated with our owned properties, of which approximately 8,600 acre-feet are adjudicated. Our Yuma, Arizona water resources include approximately 11,700 acre-feet of water sourced from the Colorado River. We own shares in five not-for-profit mutual benefit water companies. Our investments in these water companies provide us with the right to receive a proportionate share of water from each of the water companies.
We believe water is a natural resource that is critical to economic growth in the western United States and firm, reliable water rights are essential to our sustainable business practices. Consequently, we have long been a private steward and advocate of prudent and efficient water management. We have made substantial investments in securing water and water rights in quantities that are sufficient to support and, we believe will exceed, our long-term business objectives. We strive to follow best management practices for the diversion, conveyance, distribution and use of water. In the future, we intend to continue to provide leadership in the area of, and seek innovation opportunities that promote increased water use efficiency and the development of new sources of supply for our neighboring communities.
Item 3. Legal Proceedings
We are from time to time involved in legal proceedings arising in the normal course of business. Other than proceedings incidental to our business, we are not a party to, nor is any of our property the subject of, any material pending legal proceedings, and no such proceedings are, to our knowledge, contemplated by governmental authorities.
Item 4. Mine Safety Disclosures
Item 5. Market for Registrant’s Common Equity, Related Stockholder Matters and Issuer Purchases of Equity Securities
Our common stock is traded on The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC (“NASDAQ”) under the symbol “LMNR.” There is no assurance that our common stock will continue to be traded on NASDAQ or that any liquidity will exist for our stockholders.
On December 31, 2020, there were approximately 214 registered holders of our common stock. The number of registered holders includes banks and brokers who act as nominees, each of whom may represent more than one stockholder.
The following table presents cash dividends per common share declared and paid in the periods shown.
|Fourth Quarter Ended October 31, 2020||$||0.0750 |
|Third Quarter Ended July 31, 2020||$||0.0750 |
|Second Quarter Ended April 30, 2020||$||0.0750 |
|First Quarter Ended January 31, 2020||$||0.0750 |
|Fourth Quarter Ended October 31, 2019||$||0.0750 |
|Third Quarter Ended July 31, 2019||$||0.0750 |
|Second Quarter Ended April 30, 2019||$||0.0750 |
|First Quarter Ended January 31, 2019||$||0.0750 |
In December 2020, we declared our quarterly dividend of $0.0750 per common share and we expect to continue to pay quarterly dividends at a similar rate to the extent permitted by the financial results of our business and other factors beyond management’s control.
The line graph above compares the percentage change in cumulative total stockholder return of our common stock registered under section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) with (i) the cumulative total return of the Russell 2000 Index, assuming reinvestment of dividends, and (ii) the cumulative total return of Dow Jones U.S. Food Producers Index, assuming reinvestment of dividends.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Purchases of Equity Securities by Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
During the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2020, we purchased shares of our common stock as follows:
|Period||Total Number of Shares Purchased (1)||Weighted Average Price Paid per Share||Total Number of|
Shares Purchased as
Part of Publicly
Announced Plans or
Dollar Value) of
Shares that May Yet
Be Purchased Under
the Plans or
|August 1, 2020 through August 31, 2020||— ||$||— ||— ||$||— |
|September 1, 2020 through September 30, 2020||— ||$||14.00 ||208,877 ||6,507,000 |
|October 1, 2020 through October 31, 2020||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|Total||— ||208,877 ||$||6,507,000 |
(1) We did not acquire any shares from our employees in accordance with our stock-based compensation plan.
(2) On March 12, 2020, the Board of Directors of our Company approved a share repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding shares of common stock through March 2021.
Item 6. Selected Financial Data
The following selected financial data are derived from our audited consolidated financial statements. The information set forth below should be read in conjunction with "Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations,” the financial statements and related notes to consolidated financial statements included elsewhere in this Annual Report (in thousands, except per share amounts).
| ||Fiscal Years Ended October 31,|
|Total net revenues||$||164,559 ||$||171,398 ||$||129,392 ||$||121,309 ||$||111,789 |
|Operating (loss) income||$||(19,008)||$||(5,514)||$||9,486 ||$||11,863 ||$||9,188 |
|Net (loss) income attributable to Limoneira Company||$||(16,435)||$||(5,943)||$||20,188 ||$||6,595 ||$||8,058 |
|Basic net (loss) income per common share||$||(0.96)||$||(0.37)||$||1.26 ||$||0.42 ||$||0.52 |
|Diluted net (loss) income per common share||$||(0.96)||$||(0.37)||$||1.25 ||$||0.42 ||$||0.52 |
|Total assets||$||389,600 ||$||399,867 ||$||421,339 ||$||339,031 ||$||305,448 |
|Current and long-term debt||$||125,848 ||108,915 ||$||80,093 ||$||105,113 ||$||90,672 |
|Convertible preferred stock||$||10,810 ||10,810 ||$||10,810 ||$||10,810 ||$||12,231 |
|Cash dividends declared per share of common stock||$||0.30 ||$||0.30 ||$||0.25 ||$||0.22 ||$||0.20 |
In fiscal year 2020, we sold our remaining 200,000 shares of Calavo common stock at an average price of $55.29 per share, the net proceeds from the sale were $11.0 million. In March 2020, the CARES Act was signed into law. We have recorded approximately $1.9 million of income tax benefit and $6.7 million federal and California refunds in fiscal years 2020 and 2021. In March 2020, the Board of Directors of our Company approved a share repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding shares of common stock through March 2021. During 2020, we repurchased 250,977 shares under the share repurchase program for approximately $3.5 million.
In fiscal year 2019, revenues increased $14.7 million as a result of the Trapani Fresh acquisition and by $8.8 million with the adoption of FASB ASU 2014-09, Revenue from Contracts with Customers (Topic 606). In December 2018, we terminated our lease agreement with the Joint Venture who is developing the East Area I real estate development project. As a result, we reduced our sale lease-back deferral and corresponding real estate development by $58.3 million and reclassified $33.4 million of our basis in the Joint Venture from real estate development to equity in investments and contributed $4.0 million to the Joint Venture. In May 2019, we acquired a 51% interest in a joint venture, Trapani Fresh, formed with FGF Trapani, a multi-generational, family owned citrus operation in Argentina for $15.0 million, which is consolidated.
In June 2018, we completed the sale of 3,136,000 shares of common stock, at a price of $22.00 per share, to institutional and other investors in a registered offering under our shelf registration statement. The gross proceeds of the offering totaled $69.0 million and after an underwriting discount of $4.5 million and other offering expenses of $0.4 million, the net proceeds were $64.1 million. In June and July 2018, we used the offering proceeds to pay down debt, purchase San Pablo ranch for $13.1 million and purchase Oxnard Lemon packinghouse, related land and certain other assets for $25.0 million. In fiscal year 2018, we capitalized approximately $32.7 million of costs related to our East Areas I & II real estate development projects and we contributed $3.5 million to the Joint Venture for our East Area I real estate development project.
In fiscal year 2017, we completed the acquisition of 90% of the outstanding stock of PDA, a privately-owned Chilean corporation, for $5.7 million in cash. PDA also had approximately $1.7 million in long term debt on the acquisition date, which we assumed in the acquisition. We capitalized approximately $7.9 million of costs related to our East Areas I & II real estate development projects, $5.2 million of costs related to orchard development and $1.9 million of costs related to vineyard development. Additionally, we contributed $7.5 million to the Joint Venture for our East Area I real estate development project.
The global spread of the novel coronavirus ("COVID-19") in recent months has negatively impacted the global economy, disrupted global supply chains and created significant volatility and disruption of financial markets. The impact of this pandemic has created significant uncertainty in the global economy and has affected our business, employees, suppliers, and customers.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an adverse impact on the industries and markets in which we conduct business. In particular, the United States lemon market has seen a significant decline in volume, with lemon demand falling since wide spread shelter in place orders were issued in mid-March, resulting in a significant market oversupply. The export market for fresh product has also significantly declined due to COVID-19 impacts.
The decline in demand for our products beginning the second quarter of 2020, which we believe was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacted our sales and profitability for the second and third quarters of 2020. We also expect an adverse impact on our sales and profitability in future periods. These impacts are expected to be material. However, the duration of these trends and the magnitude of such impacts cannot be precisely estimated at this time, as they are affected by a number of factors, many of which are outside management’s control, including those presented in - Item 1A. Risk Factors of this Annual Report. Although subject to unforeseen changes that may arise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, we currently expect improvement into fiscal year 2021, specifically as restaurants and bars reopen.
We took proactive actions early on to protect the health of our employees and their families, including curtailing business travel and encouraging video conferencing whenever possible. In addition, as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened throughout March and into April and May 2020, we allowed personnel to work remotely to the extent possible. While we believe we have taken appropriate measures to mitigate the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the situation evolves into what could be a more prolonged pandemic, we will continue to analyze additional mitigation measures that may be needed to preserve the health and safety of our workforce and our customers and the ongoing continuity of our business operations. Those measures might include modifying workspaces, continuing social distancing policies, implementing new personal protective equipment or health screening policies at our facilities, or such other industry best practices needed to continue to maintain a healthy and safe environment for our employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Given the economic uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have taken actions to improve our current liquidity position, including temporarily postponing capital expenditures, selling equity securities to increase cash, reducing operating costs, and substantially reducing discretionary spending.
We are one of the largest growers of lemons and avocados in the United States and maintain our country's food chain infrastructure and thus are considered an essential business and permitted to remain open during the ongoing pandemic, be it at reduced volumes, in order to fulfill our customers' needs. However, there is significant uncertainty around the breadth and duration of our business disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its impact on the U.S. economy, the ongoing business operations of our clients and our results of operations and financial condition. While our management team is actively monitoring the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and may take further actions altering our business operations that we determine are in the best interests of our employees and clients or as required by federal, state, or local authorities, the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results
of operations, financial condition, or liquidity cannot be fully estimated at this point. The following discussions are subject to the future effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on our ongoing business operations.
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
You should read the following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations together with “Selected Financial Data” and our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto that appear elsewhere in this Annual Report. This discussion and analysis contains forward-looking statements that involve risks, uncertainties, and assumptions. Actual results may differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including, but not limited to, those presented under “Risk Factors” included in Item 1A and elsewhere in this Annual Report.
Limoneira Company was incorporated in Delaware in 1990 as the successor to several businesses with operations in California since 1893. We are primarily an agribusiness company founded and based in Santa Paula, California, committed to responsibly using and managing our approximately 15,400 acres of land, water resources and other assets to maximize long-term stockholder value. Our current operations consist of fruit production, sales and marketing, rental operations, real estate and capital investment activities.
We are one of California’s oldest citrus growers. According to Sunkist, we are one of the largest growers of lemons in the United States and, according to the California Avocado Commission, one of the largest growers of avocados in the United States. In addition to growing lemons and avocados, we grow oranges and a variety of specialty citrus and other crops. We have agricultural plantings throughout Ventura, Tulare, San Luis Obispo and San Bernardino Counties in California, Yuma County in Arizona, La Serena, Chile, and Jujuy, Argentina, which collectively consist of approximately 6,000 acres of lemons, 900 acres of avocados, 1,400 acres of oranges and 900 acres of specialty citrus and other crops. We also operate our own packinghouses in Santa Paula and Oxnard, California and Yuma, Arizona, where we process, pack and sell lemons that we grow, as well as lemons grown by others. We have a 47% interest in Rosales, a citrus packing, marketing and sales business, a 90% interest in Fruticola Pan de Azucar S.A. (“PDA”), a lemon and orange orchard and 100% interest in San Pablo, a lemon and orange orchard, all of which are located near La Serena, Chile. We have a 51% interest in a joint venture, Trapani Fresh, a lemon growing, packing, marketing and selling business in Argentina.
Our water resources include water rights, usage rights and pumping rights to the water in aquifers under, and canals that run through, the land we own. Water for our farming operations is sourced from the existing water resources associated with our land, which includes rights to water in the adjudicated Santa Paula Basin (aquifer) and the un-adjudicated Fillmore and Paso Robles Basins (aquifers). We use ground water from the San Joaquin Valley Basin and water from water districts and irrigation districts in Tulare County, which is in California’s San Joaquin Valley. We also use ground water from the Cadiz Valley Basin in California's San Bernardino County and surface water in Arizona from the Colorado River through the Yuma Mesa Irrigation and Drainage District. We use ground water provided by wells and surface water for our PDA and San Pablo farming operations in Chile and our Trapani Fresh farming operations in Argentina.
For more than 100 years, we have been making strategic investments in California agriculture and real estate. We currently have an interest in three real estate development projects in California. These projects include multi-family housing and single-family homes comprised of 256 completed rental units and another approximately 1,150 units in various stages of planning and development.
We have three business divisions: agribusiness, rental operations and real estate development. Our agribusiness division is comprised of four reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing, avocados and other agribusiness, and includes our core operations of farming, harvesting, lemon packing and lemon sales operations. The rental operations division includes our residential and commercial rentals, leased land operations and organic recycling. The real estate development division includes our investments in real estate development projects. Generally, we see our Company as a land and farming company that generates annual cash flows to support our progress into diversified real estate development activities. As real estate developments are monetized, our agriculture business will then be able to expand more rapidly into new regions and markets.
Recent Developments – Refer to Part I, Item 1 “Fiscal Year 2020 Highlights and Recent Developments”
Results of Operations
The following table shows the results of operations for ($ in thousands):
| ||Years Ended October 31,|
| ||2020|| ||2019|| ||2018|| |
|Revenues:|| || || || || || |
|Agribusiness||$||159,937 ||97%||$||166,549 ||97%||$||124,344 ||96%|
|Other operations||4,622 ||3%||4,849 ||3%||5,048 ||4%|
|Total net revenues||164,559 ||100%||171,398 ||100%||129,392 ||100%|
|Costs and expenses:|
|Agribusiness||157,281 ||86%||152,372 ||86%||98,083 ||83%|
|Other operations||4,504 ||2%||4,439 ||3%||4,212 ||3%|
|Impairment of real estate development assets||— ||—||— ||—||1,558 ||1%|
|Loss (gain) on sale and disposal of property assets||502 ||—||(1,069)||(1)%||— ||—|
|Selling, general and administrative||21,280 ||12%||21,170 ||12%||16,053 ||13%|
|Total costs and expenses||183,567 ||100%||176,912 ||100%||119,906 ||100%|
|Operating (loss) income:|| || || || || || |
|Agribusiness||2,656 || ||14,177 || ||26,261 || |
|Other operations||118 || ||410 || ||(722)|| |
|Loss (gain) on sale and disposal of property assets||(502)||1,069 ||— |
|Selling, general and administrative||(21,280)|| ||(21,170)|| ||(16,053)|| |
|Operating (loss) income||(19,008)|| ||(5,514)|| ||9,486 || |
|Other (expense) income:|| || || |
|Interest income||362 ||207 ||201 |
|Interest expense||(2,048)|| ||(2,341)|| ||(1,323)|| |
|Equity in earnings of investments, net||339 || ||3,073 || ||583 || |
|(Loss) gain on stock in Calavo Growers, Inc.||(6,299)|| ||(2,117)|| ||4,223 || |
|Other income, net||219 || ||129 || ||313 || |
|Total other (expense) income||(7,427)|| ||(1,049)|| ||3,997 || |
|(Loss) income before income tax benefit (provision)||(26,435)|| ||(6,563)|| ||13,483 || |
|Income tax benefit||8,494 || ||1,097 || ||6,729 || |
|Net (loss) income||(17,941)|| ||(5,466)|| ||20,212 || |
|Loss (income) attributable to noncontrolling interest||1,506 || ||(477)|| ||(24)|| |
|Net (loss) income attributable to Limoneira Company||$||(16,435)|| ||$||(5,943)|| ||$||20,188 || |
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Due to significant depreciable assets associated with the nature of our operations and interest costs associated with our capital structure, management believes that earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) and adjusted EBITDA, which excludes loss on stock in Calavo, LLCB earnings in equity investment, sale and disposal of property assets and impairments on real estate development assets when applicable, is an important measure to evaluate our results of operations between periods on a more comparable basis. Such measurements are not prepared in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”) and should not be construed as an alternative to reported results determined in accordance with GAAP. The non-GAAP information provided is unique to us and may not be consistent with methodologies used by other companies. EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA are summarized and reconciled to net income attributable to Limoneira Company which management considers to be the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP as follows (in thousands):
| ||Years Ended October 31,|
|Net (loss) income attributable to Limoneira Company||$||(16,435)||$||(5,943)||$||20,188 |
|Interest expense||2,048 ||2,341 ||1,323 |
|Income tax benefit||(8,494)||(1,097)||(6,729)|
|Depreciation and amortization||10,097 ||8,633 ||7,275 |
|EBITDA||(13,146)||3,727 ||21,856 |
|Loss on stock in Calavo Growers, Inc.||6,299 ||2,054 ||— |
|LLCB earnings in equity investments, net||(326)||(2,870)||— |
|Loss (gain) on sale and disposal of property assets||502 ||(991)||— |
|Impairment of real estate development assets||— ||— ||1,558 |
|Adjusted EBITDA||$||(6,671)||$||1,920 ||$||23,414 |
Fiscal Year 2020 Compared to Fiscal Year 2019
Total revenues for fiscal year 2020 was $164.6 million compared to $171.4 million for fiscal year 2019. The 4% decrease of $6.8 million was primarily the result of decreased lemons agribusiness revenues, as detailed below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Revenues for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Lemons||$||137,563 ||$||149,971 ||$||(12,408)||(8)%|
|Avocados||8,806 ||5,391 ||3,415 ||63%|
|Oranges||7,722 ||6,022 ||1,700 ||28%|
|Specialty citrus and other crops||5,846 ||5,165 ||681 ||13%|
|Agribusiness revenues||$||159,937 ||$||166,549 ||$||(6,612)||(4)%|
•Lemons: The decrease in fiscal year 2020 was primarily the result of lower prices partially offset by higher volume of fresh lemons sold compared to fiscal year 2019. During fiscal years 2020 and 2019, fresh lemon sales were $101.1 million and $110.1 million on 5.5 million and 5.2 million cartons of fresh lemons sold at average per carton prices of $18.32 and $21.00, respectively. COVID-19 related food service closures reduced the demand for lemons in the food service marketplace and created an over-supply in the retail marketplace. This oversupply of lemons resulted in lower average per carton prices in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019. Lemon revenues in fiscal years 2020 and 2019 included $13.4 million and $15.6 million shipping and handling, $4.1 million and $10.8 million lemon by-products and $18.9 million and $13.5 million other lemon sales, respectively.
•Avocados: The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily the result of higher volume partially offset by lower prices of avocados sold compared to fiscal year 2019. The California avocado crop typically experiences alternating years of high and low production due to plant physiology. During fiscal years 2020 and 2019, 8.0 million and 1.8 million pounds of avocados were sold at average per pound prices of $1.10 and $1.72, respectively. Lower prices in fiscal year 2020 were primarily related to higher supply of fruit in the marketplace. Fiscal year 2019 avocados revenues included approximately $2.3 million of crop insurance.
•Oranges: The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily due to higher prices partially offset by lower volume of oranges sold compared to fiscal year 2019. During fiscal years 2020 and 2019, sales consisted of 743,000 and 907,000 40-pound carton equivalents of oranges sold at average per carton prices of $10.39 and $6.64, respectively.
•Specialty citrus and other crops: The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily the result of higher prices partially offset by lower volume of specialty citrus sold compared to fiscal year 2019. In fiscal years 2020 and 2019, we sold 333,000 and 358,000 40-pound carton equivalents of specialty citrus at an average per carton price of $12.37 and $9.34, respectively.
Rental operations revenue was $4.6 million in fiscal year 2020 compared to $4.8 million in fiscal year 2019. The decrease in fiscal year 2020 was primarily due to decreased revenues from residential rental units leased to employees, former employees and non-employees compared to fiscal year 2019.
Real estate development revenue was zero in both fiscal years 2020 and 2019.
Costs and Expenses
Total costs and expenses for fiscal year 2020 were $183.6 million compared to $176.9 million for fiscal year 2019. This 4% increase of $6.7 million was primarily attributable to increases in our agribusiness expenses. Costs associated with our agribusiness division include packing costs, harvest costs, growing costs, costs related to the lemons we procure from third-party growers and depreciation and amortization expense. These costs are discussed further below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Costs and Expenses for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Packing costs||$||45,545 ||$||41,018 ||$||4,527 ||11%|
|Harvest costs||20,714 ||19,272 ||1,442 ||7%|
|Growing costs||27,861 ||26,962 ||899 ||3%|
|Third-party grower costs||54,218 ||57,497 ||(3,279)||(6)%|
|Depreciation and amortization||8,943 ||7,623 ||1,320 ||17%|
|Agribusiness costs and expenses||$||157,281 ||$||152,372 ||$||4,909 ||3%|
•Packing costs: Packing costs consist of the costs to pack lemons for sale such as labor and benefits, cardboard cartons, fruit treatments, packing and shipping supplies and facility operating costs. Lemon packing costs were $42.6 million and $37.7 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2019, respectively. The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily attributable to higher average per carton costs and higher volume of fresh lemons packed and sold compared to fiscal year 2019. In fiscal years 2020 and 2019, we packed and sold 5.5 million and 5.2 million cartons of lemons at average per carton costs of $7.71 and $7.20, respectively. The increase in average per carton costs in fiscal year 2020 compared to fiscal year 2019 was primarily due to decreased percentage of the crop that went to the fresh market. Additionally, in fiscal years 2020 and 2019, packing costs included $3.0 million and $3.2 million of shipping costs.
•Harvest costs: The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily attributable to increased volume of lemons and avocados harvested partially offset by decreased volume of oranges harvested compared to fiscal year 2019.
•Growing costs: Growing costs, also referred to as cultural costs, consist of orchard maintenance costs such as cultivation, fertilization and soil amendments, pest control, pruning and irrigation. The increase in fiscal year 2020 was primarily due to net increased costs for cultivation compared to fiscal year 2019. These net increases reflect farm management decisions based on weather, harvest timing and crop conditions.
•Third-party grower costs: We sell lemons that we grow and lemons that we procure from other growers. The cost of procuring lemons from other growers is referred to as third-party grower costs. The decrease in fiscal year 2020 was primarily due to lower prices of third-party grower lemons sold, partially offset by increased volume compared to fiscal year 2019. During fiscal years 2020 and 2019, of the 5.5 million and 5.2 million cartons sold, 3.3 million (60%) and 3.1 million (60%) were procured from third-party growers at average per carton prices of $11.71 and $15.52, respectively. Additionally, in fiscal years 2020 and 2019 we incurred $15.5 million and $9.0 million, respectively of costs for purchased, packed fruit for resale.
•Depreciation and amortization expense in fiscal year 2020 was $1.3 million higher than fiscal year 2019 primarily due to the acquisition of Trapani Fresh in May 2019.
Other operations expenses were $4.5 million in the fiscal year 2020 compared to $4.4 million in the fiscal year 2019.
Loss (gain) on sales of property assets for fiscal years 2020 and 2019 were $0.5 million and $(1.1) million, respectively.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for fiscal year 2020 were $21.3 million compared to $21.2 million for fiscal year 2019. This 1% increase of $0.1 million was primarily attributable to the following:
•$0.9 million increase in training, depreciation and other costs associated with an ERP implementation; and
•$0.8 million decrease in other selling, general and administrative expenses, including certain corporate overhead expenses.
Other (Expense) Income
Other (expense) income, for fiscal year 2020 was $(7.4) million compared to $(1.0) million for fiscal year 2019. The $6.4 million increase in expense is primarily the result of:
•$0.3 million decrease in interest expense as a result of lower interest rates;
•$2.7 million decrease in equity in earnings of investments primarily from LLCB; and
•$4.2 million increase in the loss on sales of stock in Calavo.
We recorded an income tax benefit of $8.5 million for fiscal year 2020 on pre-tax loss of $26.4 million compared to an income tax benefit of $1.1 million for fiscal year 2019 on pre-tax loss of $6.6 million. The tax provision recorded for the fiscal year 2020 differs from the U.S. federal statutory tax rate of 21% due primarily to a $1.9 million discrete benefit related to the CARES Act. Our effective tax rate for fiscal years 2020 and 2019 was 32.2% and 17.1%, respectively.
Net (Loss) Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest
Net (loss) income attributable to noncontrolling interest primarily represents 10% of the net income of PDA and 49% of the net loss of Trapani Fresh.
Fiscal Year 2019 Compared to Fiscal Year 2018
Total revenues for fiscal year 2019 was $171.4 million compared to $129.4 million for fiscal year 2018. The 32% increase of $42.0 million was primarily the result of increased agribusiness revenues, as detailed below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Revenues for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Lemons||$||149,971 ||$||103,830 ||$||46,141 ||44%|
|Avocados||5,391 ||6,576 ||(1,185)||(18)%|
|Oranges||6,022 ||8,884 ||(2,862)||(32)%|
|Specialty citrus and other crops||5,165 ||5,054 ||111 ||2%|
|Agribusiness revenues||$||166,549 ||$||124,344 ||$||42,205 ||34%|
•Lemons: The increase in fiscal year 2019 was primarily the result of higher volume partially offset by lower prices of fresh lemons sold compared to fiscal year 2018. A portion of the increased revenue was the result of fresh lemon sales of $14.7 million by Trapani Fresh on 746,000 cartons of fresh lemons sold in fiscal year 2019. During fiscal years 2019 and 2018, fresh lemon sales were $110.1 million and $83.9 million on 5.2 million and 3.3 million cartons of fresh lemons sold at average per carton prices of $21.00 and $25.42, respectively. Lemon revenues in fiscal year 2019 included $15.6 million shipping and handling, $10.8 million lemon by-products and $13.5 million other lemon sales. Other lemon sales in fiscal year 2019 included $2.9 million of lemon sales in Chile by PDA and San Pablo and $9.5 million of brokered fruit sales, of which $8.8 million is due to the adoption of FASB ASU 2014-19. Lemon revenues in fiscal year 2018 included $9.0 million shipping and handling, $4.4 million lemon by-products and $6.5 million other lemon sales. Other lemon sales in fiscal year 2018 included $2.3 million of lemon sales in Chile by PDA and $1.1 million of commissions earned on 912,000 cartons of brokered fruit sales.
•Avocados: The decrease in fiscal year 2019 was the result of lower volume partially offset by higher prices of avocados sold compared to fiscal year 2018. The California avocado crop typically experiences alternating years of high and low production due to plant physiology. During fiscal years 2019 and 2018, 1.8 million and 6.3 million pounds of avocados were sold at average per pound prices of $1.72 and $1.04, respectively. Higher prices in fiscal year 2019 were primarily related to lower supply of fruit in the marketplace. Fiscal year 2019 avocados revenues included approximately $2.3 million of crop insurance.
•Oranges: The decrease in fiscal year 2019 was primarily due to lower prices partially offset by higher volume of oranges sold compared to fiscal year 2018. During fiscal years 2019 and 2018, sales consisted of 907,000 and 712,000 40-pound carton equivalents of oranges sold at average per carton prices of $6.64 and $12.48, respectively. Oranges revenues in fiscal years 2019 and 2018 included $0.3 million of orange sales in Chile.
•Specialty citrus and other crops: The slight increase in fiscal year 2019 was primarily the result of higher volume of wine grapes and pistachios sold offset by lower specialty citrus revenues compared to fiscal year 2018. In fiscal year 2019, we sold approximately 1,300 tons of wine grapes for $1.3 million compared to approximately 600 tons of wine grapes for $0.9 million in fiscal year 2018.
Corporate and other operations revenue was $4.8 million in fiscal year 2019 compared to $5.0 million in fiscal year 2018. The decrease in fiscal year 2019 was primarily due to decreased revenues from land leased to third-party agricultural tenants compared to fiscal year 2018.
Costs and Expenses
Total costs and expenses for fiscal year 2019 were $176.9 million compared to $119.9 million for fiscal year 2018. This 48% increase of $57.0 million was primarily attributable to increases in our agribusiness, real estate development and selling, general and administrative costs and expenses. Costs associated with our agribusiness division include packing costs, harvest costs, growing costs, costs related to the lemons we procure from third-party growers and depreciation and amortization expense. These costs are discussed further below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Costs and Expenses for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Packing costs||$||41,018 ||$||23,071 ||$||17,947 ||78%|
|Harvest costs||19,272 ||13,512 ||5,760 ||43%|
|Growing costs||26,962 ||23,523 ||3,439 ||15%|
|Third-party grower costs||57,497 ||31,733 ||25,764 ||81%|
|Depreciation and amortization||7,623 ||6,244 ||1,379 ||22%|
|Agribusiness costs and expenses||$||152,372 ||$||98,083 ||$||54,289 ||55%|
•Packing costs: Packing costs consist of the costs to pack lemons for sale such as labor and benefits, cardboard cartons, fruit treatments, packing and shipping supplies and facility operating costs. Lemon packing costs were $37.7 million and $21.4 million in fiscal years 2019 and 2018, respectively. The increase in fiscal year 2019 was primarily attributable to higher average per carton costs and higher volume of fresh lemons packed and sold compared to fiscal year 2018. In fiscal year 2019, we packed and sold 5.2 million cartons of lemons at average per carton costs of $7.20 compared to 3.3 million cartons of lemons sold at average per carton costs of $6.48 in fiscal year 2018. The increase in average per carton costs in fiscal year 2019 compared to fiscal year 2018 is primarily due to increased volume of lemon by-products and $5.8 million of operating costs incurred at the Oxnard Lemon facility. Additionally, packing costs included $3.2 million of shipping costs in fiscal year 2019 compared to $1.7 million in fiscal year 2018.
•Harvest costs: The increase in fiscal year 2019 was primarily attributable to increased volume of lemons and Navel oranges and specialty citrus harvested partially offset by decreased volume of avocados harvested compared to fiscal year 2018.
•Growing costs: Growing costs, also referred to as cultural costs, consist of orchard maintenance costs such as cultivation, fertilization and soil amendments, pest control, pruning and irrigation. The increase in fiscal year 2019 is primarily due to net increased costs for fertilization and soil amendments and pruning in addition to San Pablo and Trapani Fresh growing costs compared to fiscal year 2018. These net increases reflect farm management decisions based on weather, harvest timing and crop conditions.
•Third-party grower costs: We sell lemons that we grow and lemons that we procure from other growers. The cost of procuring lemons from other growers is referred to as third-party grower costs. The increase is primarily due to higher volume of third-party grower lemons sold. During fiscal years 2019 and 2018, of the 5.2 million and 3.3 million cartons sold, 3.1 million (60%) and 1.5 million (45%) were procured from third-party growers at average per carton prices of $15.52 and $20.89, respectively.
Additionally, in fiscal year 2019 we incurred $9.0 million of costs for purchased, packed fruit for resale compared to $0.4 million in fiscal year 2018.
•Depreciation and amortization expense in fiscal year 2019 was $1.4 million higher than fiscal year 2018 primarily due to the acquisitions of San Pablo, Oxnard Lemon and Trapani Fresh and an increase in assets placed into service.
Real estate development expenses for fiscal year 2019 were $0.1 million compared to $1.7 million in fiscal year 2018. Real estate development costs and expenses in fiscal year 2018 include $1.6 million impairment on Pacific Crest and Sevilla real estate development projects. Gain on sales of property for fiscal year 2019 includes $1.1 million for the sale of two properties.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for fiscal year 2019 were $21.2 million compared to $16.1 million for fiscal year 2018. This 32% increase of $5.1 million was primarily attributable to the following:
•$3.2 million in Trapani Fresh selling, general and administrative expenses;
•$0.8 million increase in legal, consulting and other administrative expenses primarily associated with our acquisition of Trapani Fresh in May 2019;
•$0.4 million increase in lemon selling expenses primarily due to an increase in personnel; and
•$0.7 million increase in other selling, general and administrative expenses, including certain corporate overhead expenses.
Other (Expense) Income
Other (expense) income, for fiscal year 2019 was ($1.0) million of expense compared to $4.0 million of income for fiscal year 2018. The $5.0 million decrease in income is primarily the result of:
•$1.0 million increase in interest expense as a result of higher debt;
•$2.5 million increase in equity in earnings of investments primarily from LLCB;
•$4.3 million decrease in the gain on sales of stock in Calavo; and
•$2.1 million in unrealized loss on stock in Calavo in fiscal year 2019.
We recorded an income tax benefit of $1.1 million for fiscal year 2019 on pre-tax loss of $6.6 million compared to an income tax benefit of $6.7 million for fiscal year 2018 on pre-tax income of $13.5 million. Our effective tax rate was 17.1% for fiscal year 2019 compared to an effective tax rate of (49.9)% for fiscal year 2018. Our effective tax rate in fiscal year 2018 was primarily due to the approximate $10.3 million decrease in deferred tax liabilities related to the change in the federal tax rate from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. No such tax rate changes occurred in fiscal year 2019.
Net (Loss) Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest
Net (loss) income attributable to noncontrolling interest primarily represents 10% of the net income of PDA and 49% of the net income of Trapani Fresh.
Segment Results of Operations
We operate in four reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing, avocados and other agribusiness. Our reportable operating segments are strategic business units with different products and services, distribution processes and customer bases. We evaluate the performance of our operating segments separately to monitor the different factors affecting financial results. Each segment is subject to review and evaluations related to current market conditions, market opportunities and available resources. See Note 22 - Segment Information of the notes to consolidated financial statements included in this Annual Report for additional information regarding our operating segments.
Segment information for fiscal year 2020 (in thousands):
|Revenues from external customers||$||124,150 ||$||13,413 ||$||— ||$||8,806 ||$||13,568 ||$||159,937 ||$||4,622 ||$||164,559 |
|Intersegment revenues||— ||36,820 ||(36,820)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Total net revenues||124,150 ||50,233 ||(36,820)||8,806 ||13,568 ||159,937 ||4,622 ||164,559 |
|Costs and expenses||125,305 ||42,563 ||(36,820)||5,168 ||12,122 ||148,338 ||25,132 ||173,470 |
|Depreciation and amortization||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||8,943 ||1,154 ||10,097 |
|Operating (loss) income||$||(1,155)||$||7,670 ||$||— ||$||3,638 ||$||1,446 ||$||2,656 ||$||(21,664)||$||(19,008)|
Segment information for fiscal year 2019 (in thousands):
|Revenues from external customers||$||134,342 ||$||15,629 ||$||— ||$||5,391 ||$||11,187 ||$||166,549 ||$||4,849 ||$||171,398 |
|Intersegment revenues||— ||30,073 ||(30,073)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Total net revenues||134,342 ||45,702 ||(30,073)||5,391 ||11,187 ||166,549 ||4,849 ||171,398 |
|Costs and expenses||120,998 ||37,639 ||(30,073)|