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, 2022
|☐||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, 2022 (the last business day of the Registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter) was approximately $199.3 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 November 30, 2022 was 17,684,315.
Documents Incorporated by Reference
Portions of the Registrant’s Proxy Statement for the 2023 Annual Meeting of Stockholders, which we intend to hold on March 21, 2023, 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, 2022.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS
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:
•negative impacts related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our Company's responses to the pandemic;
•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;
•disruption in the global supply chain;
•product and raw materials supplies and pricing;
•energy supply and pricing;
•changes in interest rates and the impact of inflation;
•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;
•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. 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 at 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. The contents of our website referred to above are not incorporated into this Annual Report. Further, any references to our website are intended to be interactive textual references only.
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.
Agribusiness activities are performed through these four reporting segments:
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 5,600 acres of lemons, 900 acres of avocados, 1,000 acres of oranges and 1,000 acres of specialty citrus and other crops. We also operate our own packinghouses in Santa Paula, 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 a 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 orchard 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 two real estate development projects in California. These projects include multi-family housing, single-family homes and apartments of approximately 900 units in various stages of planning and development.
Fiscal Year 2022 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 and formed Limoneira Lewis Community Builders, LLC ("LLCB") as the development entity. LLCB has closed on lot sales representing 586 units from inception through October 31, 2022. In October 2022, we entered
into a joint venture with Lewis for the development of our 17-acre East Area I Retained Property (“Retained Property”). We formed LLCB II, LLC ("LLCB II") as the development entity, contributed our Retained Property to the joint venture and sold a 50% interest to Lewis for $8.0 million. We recorded a gain on the transaction of approximately $4.7 million, of which $0.5 million was deferred. The joint venture partners will share in the capital contributions to fund project costs until loan proceeds and/or revenues are sufficient to fund the project. In connection with the closing, we amended LLCB’s Limited Liability Company Agreement to provide that LLCB is to include the processing of final approval for additional residential units to be developed and constructed on the Retained Property. For further information see Note 5 – Real Estate Development.
In September 2021, we signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Wileman Bros. & Elliott, Inc. ("Wileman"), to form an alliance to sell their combined citrus volumes under Limoneira's One World of Citrus trademark. Wileman is a 95-year-old citrus business located in California’s Central Valley with a focus on oranges, mandarins and specialty citrus. Effective November 1, 2021, the majority of our oranges and certain specialty citrus are packed by Wileman.
In January 2022, we were notified of Alex M. Teague’s decision to retire as Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of our Company, effective February 1, 2022. In connection with his retirement, we entered into a separation agreement with Mr. Teague whereas, (i) Mr. Teague was paid one year of his annual base salary, which was paid in one lump sum within 90 business days of January 12, 2022; (ii) 23,999 shares of our common stock granted to Mr. Teague pursuant to the Limoneira Company Omnibus Incentive Plan fully vested; and (iii) Mr. Teague received certain other benefits as set forth in the agreement. In fiscal year 2022, Mr. Teague received $0.4 million cash severance and $0.3 million accelerated vesting of stock-based compensation.
In February 2022, we terminated our Avocado Marketing Agreement and the associated Letter Agreement Regarding Fruit Commitment with Calavo to pursue opportunities with other packing and marketing companies.
In March 2022, we signed an agreement to lease Finca Santa Clara, our 1,200-acre lemon ranch in Argentina, to FGF Trapani ("FGF"), our 49% partner in Trapani Fresh. The lease is retroactive beginning November 1, 2021, with a term of 14 months at a fixed sum of $0.4 million, payable in five equal, monthly installments from August 2022 through December 2022. We expect to extend the lease agreement for an additional year.
In April 2022, the promissory note previously received for the sale of our Centennial property, with a net carrying value of $2.4 million, was paid in full and the deferred gain of $0.2 million was recognized.
In June 2022, we engaged with YMIDD in a two-year fallowing and forbearance program at our Associated Citrus Packers, Inc. ("Associated") ranch in Yuma, Arizona. We expect to receive payments totaling approximately $1.3 million during the program. With the fallowing program in place, this ranch will have approximately 700 acres of productive lemons, 400 fallowed acres and 200 acres of other crops.
In October 2022, we sold our Oxnard Lemon property and packing facility located in Ventura County, California. We received net proceeds of $19.1 million and recognized a gain of approximately $0.8 million. Concurrent with the closing of the sale, we entered into a lease agreement to continue our use of the property as a lessee for a period of 36 months from the closing date, with extension options for an additional 24 months.
On December 20, 2022, we declared a cash dividend of $0.075 per common share payable on January 13, 2023, in the aggregate amount of $1.3 million to stockholders of record as of January 3, 2023.
In fiscal year 2020, we entered into an agreement to sell our Sevilla property for $2.7 million, which closed on November 30, 2022. We received net proceeds of $2.6 million and recorded an immaterial loss in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.
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 saw a significant decline in volume, with lemon demand falling since widespread shelter in place orders were issued in March 2020, resulting in a significant market oversupply. The export market for fresh produce also significantly declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacts. As of October 31, 2022, the demand within both markets is recovering but has not yet returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The decline in demand for our products beginning the second quarter of fiscal year 2020, which we believe was due to the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively impacted our sales and profitability for the last three quarters of fiscal year 2020 and all of fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic may impact our sales and profitability in future periods. The duration of these trends and the magnitude of such impacts cannot be estimated at this time, as they are influenced 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. Notwithstanding the adverse impacts and subject to unforeseen changes that may arise as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we currently expect improvement in fiscal year 2023 compared to fiscal year 2022.
Given the economic uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic over the past three years, we have taken actions to improve our current liquidity position, including temporarily postponing capital expenditures, selling equity securities to increase cash, reducing operating costs, substantially reducing discretionary spending and strategically selling certain assets.
There is continued 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 and the ongoing business operations of our customers. The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our results of operations, financial condition, or liquidity for fiscal year 2023 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 four reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing, avocados and other agribusiness, which includes oranges, specialty citrus and other crops. The agribusiness division includes our core operations of farming, harvesting, lemon packing and citrus 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. Financial information and discussion of our four reportable segments are contained in the notes to the accompanying consolidated financial statements of this Annual Report.
Lemons. We market and sell lemons directly to our food service, wholesale and retail customers throughout the United States, Canada, Asia, Australia, Europe and certain other international markets. We are one of the largest lemon growers in the United States with approximately 5,600 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 29% of our lemons are grown in Ventura County, 20% are grown in Tulare County, 12% are grown in Yuma County, Arizona and 11% are grown in San Bernardino County, California. We also grow approximately 9% of our lemons near La Serena, Chile and 19% of our lemons in Argentina.
There are many varieties of lemons, with the Lisbon, Eureka and Genoa being the predominant varieties marketed on a worldwide basis. Approximately 88% of our lemon plantings are of the Lisbon, Eureka and Genoa varieties and approximately 12% 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 have peak production periods occurring between February and July. 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.
Through fiscal year 2021, the Company sold the majority of its avocado production to Calavo Growers, Inc. (“Calavo”), a packing and marketing company listed on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol CVGW. In February 2022, the Company terminated its Avocado Marketing Agreement and the associated Letter Agreement Regarding Fruit Commitment with Calavo to pursue opportunities with other packing and marketing companies.
Primarily due to differing soil conditions, the care of avocado trees is intensive. 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 1,000 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 1,000 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 ||600 ||500 ||— ||— ||600 |
|La Campana ||Ventura, CA||300 ||— ||300 ||— ||— ||— |
|Teague McKevett ||Ventura, CA||500 ||— ||— ||— ||— ||500 |
|Orchard Farm ||Ventura, CA||1,100 ||700 ||— ||— ||— ||400 |
|Rancho La Cuesta||Ventura, CA||200 ||100 ||— ||— ||— ||100 |
|Limco Del Mar||Ventura, CA||200 ||100 ||100 ||— ||— ||— |
|Porterville Ranches||Tulare, CA||1,200 ||300 ||— ||300 ||300 ||300 |
|Ducor Ranches||Tulare, CA||1,000 ||300 ||— ||300 ||300 ||100 |
|Sheldon Ranches||Tulare, CA||700 ||100 ||— ||300 ||100 ||200 |
|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 ||700 ||— ||— ||— ||600 |
|Pan de Azucar & San Pablo||La Serena, Chile||3,500 ||500 ||— ||100 ||— ||2,900 |
|Santa Clara||Jujuy, Argentina||1,200 ||1,000 ||— ||— ||— ||200 |
|Other agribusiness land||Various Counties, CA||200 ||200 ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Total||15,400 ||5,600 ||900 ||1,000 ||1,000 ||6,900 |
|Percentage of Total||100 ||%||36 ||%||6 ||%||7 ||%||7 ||%||44 ||%|
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 to five years after the year of 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|
|0-5 Years||6-25 Years||Over 25 Years||Total|
|Lemons||1,000 ||3,500 ||1,100 ||5,600 |
|Avocados||100 ||300 ||500 ||900 |
|Oranges||— ||500 ||500 ||1,000 |
|Specialty citrus and other||— ||900 ||100 ||1,000 |
|Total ||1,100 ||5,200 ||2,200 ||8,500 |
Lemon Packing and Sales
We are one of the oldest continuous lemon packing operations 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 packinghouse in Santa Paula, 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. 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. 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.
Rental Operations Summary
Our rental operations include our residential and commercial rentals, leased land operations and organic recycling.
We own and maintain 257 residential housing units located mainly in Ventura and Tulare Counties in California that we lease to employees, former employees and non-employees. We also own several commercial office buildings. These properties generate reliable cash flows that we use to partially fund the operating cost's of our business. As of October 31, 2022, 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. Effective November 1, 2021, we also lease our 1,200 acre Santa Clara ranch in Argentina.
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 900 units in various stages of planning and development. The following is a summary of each of the strategic 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 was formerly known as our Teague McKevett Ranch. East Area I is the location for our master planned community of commercial and residential properties, named Harvest at Limoneira, designed to satisfy expected demand in a region that we believe will have few other developments in this coming decade.
In November 2015, we entered into a 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. The first phase of the project broke ground to commence mass grading in November 2017. Project plans include approximately 1,500 residential units and site improvements. A total of 586 residential units have closed from the project's inception to October 31, 2022.
In October 2022, we entered into another joint venture with Lewis for the development of our 17-acre East Area I Retained Property (“Retained Property”), which is located within the East Area I property. We formed LLCB II, LLC as the development entity, contributed our Retained Property to the joint venture and sold a 50% interest to Lewis for approximately $8.0 million. In connection with the closing, we amended LLCB’s Limited Liability Company Agreement to provide that LLCB is to include the processing of final approval for additional residential units to be developed and constructed on the Retained Property.
The joint venture partners will share in capital contributions to fund project costs until loan proceeds and/or revenues are sufficient to fund the projects. Since inception, each partner has made funding contributions of $21.4 million to LLCB. We expect to receive approximately $115.0 million from LLCB and LLCB II over the seven remaining years of the projects, including the $8.0 million received in fiscal year 2022.
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. In July 2021, we entered into a non-binding letter of intent to sell approximately 25 acres of our East Area II property in five staged purchases to an investment company for the purpose of constructing a medical campus consisting of medical office buildings and an acute care hospital. Completion of the transaction is subject to the execution of a purchase and sale agreement and resolution of certain contingencies.
Santa Maria - Santa Barbara County, California. As of October 31, 2022, we were invested in one entitled development parcel, Sevilla, located in Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County, California. In fiscal year 2020, we entered into an agreement to sell our Sevilla property for $2.7 million, which closed in the first quarter of fiscal year 2023.
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 goes 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 citrus 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 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 revenue and annual cash flows to support investments in agricultural efficiencies and acquisitions and real estate development activities. As our agricultural and non-strategic real estate development investments are monetized, we intend to use the cash flow to reduce existing debt, fund acquisitions, invest in farming efficiencies and expand packing capacities through our One World of Citrus Asset Light Business Model. We will also use more third-party grower and supplier fruit to reduce the impact of pricing volatility and rising farming costs.
We believe the asset-lighter model will enable us to achieve revenue and cash flow growth by reducing investment risk in North and South America, generating more stable and higher growth in cash flow and earnings, and improving our annual return on invested capital.
The following describes the key elements of our business strategy.
With respect to our agribusiness operations, key elements of our strategy are:
•Expand our One World of Citrus Asset Light Business Model in three main channels:
◦Growing, packing, marketing and distributing fruit grown on our properties;
◦Utilizing third-party fruit by packing, marketing and distributing their fruit through Limoneira channels; and
◦Marketing and distributing brokered fruit.
We intend to strategically sell certain assets to reduce existing debt, fund acquisitions, increase farming efficiencies and expand packing capabilities. Increased volume of fruit sales is expected to be fueled by sourcing from third-party growers and suppliers, thus mitigating the volatility that commodity pricing has on growers.
•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 domestic
third-party growers and suppliers, 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 suppliers 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 and suppliers to pack through our packing facilities. Third-party growers and suppliers 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 Sales 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 sales 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.
•Opportunistically Expand our Plantings of Avocados. Our plantings of avocados 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 avocados, oranges, specialty citrus or other crops. While we may expand our avocados, we expect to do so on an opportunistic basis in locations that we believe offer a record of historical profitability.
With respect to our rental operations and real estate development activities, key elements of our strategy include the following:
•Selectively 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 200 U.S. and international customers during fiscal year 2022. We sell our avocados, oranges, specialty citrus and other crops to third-party packinghouses and our wine grapes to wine producers.
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 third-party
packinghouses 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 $661 million for lemons, both fresh and juice, approximately $340 million for avocados, and approximately $1.6 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 County 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, One World of Citrus®, 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®, Kachina®, Oxnard Lemon 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 primarily sold from November through April and our other crops, such as pistachios and wine grapes, are primarily 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.
For a discussion of the various risks we face from regulation and compliance matters, see Item 1A. Risk Factors of this Annual Report.
Human Capital Resources
At October 31, 2022, we had 265 employees, of which 95 were salaried and 170 were hourly. None of our employees are subject to a collective bargaining agreement. We believe that our relations with our employees are good.
We believe that an environment of diversity, inclusion and belonging fosters innovation, strengthens our global workforce, and drives our ability to serve customers. Our global presence is strengthened by having a workforce that reflects the diversity of the customers we serve and by maintaining an environment in which such diversity contributes to our mission.
Limoneira is committed to protecting the human rights, safety and dignity of the people who contribute to the success of our business. We are committed to improving the lives of all our stakeholders by helping to provide access to our products and increasing the diversity of our workforce. We also seek to support the welfare of the people who produce, process and harvest the products we sell. We have established several new diversity, inclusion and belonging efforts and programs to better ensure that we are supporting our employees.
Limoneira’s overall culture emphasizes the health and safety of our employees and the customers we serve. Limoneira has an Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP), a Safety Guide and conforms to and follows regulations and guidelines set forth by OSHA in all facilities and operations. Where a particular jurisdiction's guidelines, such as Cal OHSA, are different from the OSHA standard, Limoneira adheres to the most extensive guidelines. We have excellent results from our safety programs compared to similar companies within our industry. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we implemented, and continue to improve, appropriate safety measures in all our facilities and locations.
We strive to be a great place for our employees to work and live. We offer competitive pay and best-in-class benefits, including a 401k plan with matching contribution opportunities, comprehensive paid healthcare plans, wellness programs, and tuition reimbursement.
We own and maintain 257 residential housing units located mainly in Ventura and Tulare Counties in California. We lease these housing units 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. We partner with some local schools to provide transportation for residents.
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. We purchase crop insurance for certain crops which partially mitigates our exposure.
All of our crops are subject to damage from frosts and freezes, and this has happened periodically in the 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 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 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.
ACP is 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. 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. Due to the discovery of ACP in our orchards, we have experienced costs related to the quarantine and treatment of ACP. To date, HLB has been detected in California, however there has been no HLB detected in our orchards. There can be no assurance that HLB will not be further detected in the future.
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.
Our earnings are sensitive to fluctuations in market supply and prices and demand for our products.
Excess supply often causes 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 supply.
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.
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 $14.00 per hour to $15.00 per hour, effective January 1, 2022, and will increase to $15.50 per hour in 2023. The State of Arizona wage rates rise each year based on the annual cost of living and increased from $12.15 per hour to $12.80 per hour, effective January 1, 2022, and will increase to $13.85 per hour in 2023. 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 surface water rights and 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 ground water in San Bernardino County. We use federal project water in Arizona from the Colorado River through the YMIDD. We also have acquired water rights in Chile.
California has experienced below average precipitation since the 2019 - 2020 rainfall season. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, San Bernardino County was experiencing severe drought conditions, Ventura County was experiencing extreme drought conditions and Tulare County was experiencing exceptional drought conditions as of October 31, 2022. In October 2021, the California Governor declared a drought state of emergency statewide. Federal officials who oversee the Central Valley Project, California’s largest water delivery system, allocated 0% of the contracted amount of water to San Joaquin Valley farmers in 2022, compared to 5% in 2021 and 100% in 2017 through 2020. We are assessing the impact these reductions may have on our California orchards.
In August 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation declared a Level 1 Shortage Condition at Lake Mead in the Lower Colorado River Basin for the first time ever, requiring shortage reductions and water savings contributions for states in the southwest. In January 2022, Arizona experienced water releases from Lake Mead reduced by approximately 18% of the state’s annual apportionment. In August 2022, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced Lake Mead to operate in a Tier 2 shortage, which increases water restrictions for states in the southwest. In January 2023, Arizona will forfeit approximately 21% of the state's yearly allotment of water from Lake Mead. In response, we entered into a fallowing agreement and we are assessing the impact these additional reductions may have on our Arizona orchards.
For fiscal year 2022, irrigation costs for our agricultural operations were $1.9 million higher than fiscal year 2021. 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 continuing in fiscal year 2023 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 that 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 or supply chain issues 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, One World of Citrus®, Santa®, Paula®, Bridal Veil®, Fountain®, Golden Bowl®, Level®, Kiva®, Kachina®, Oxnard Lemon 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 contain a financial covenant that requires us to maintain compliance with a specified debt service coverage ratio greater than or equal to 1:25:1.0 on an annual basis. At October 31, 2022, we were in compliance with such debt service coverage ratio. 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.
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, LLCB 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, as modified and extended, matures February 22, 2023 and has a one-year extension option through February 22, 2024 subject to terms and conditions as defined in the agreement, with the maximum borrowing amount reduced to $35.0 million during the extension period. In December 2022, LLCB exercised the extension option. The Loan contains certain customary default provisions and LLCB may prepay any amounts outstanding under the Loan without penalty. The obligations under the Loan are guaranteed by certain principals from Lewis and us. Defaults by LLCB 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 our Company’s debt agreements use LIBOR as a reference rate, which will be converted to the Secure Overnight Financing Rate ("SOFR") on January 1, 2023.
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 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 and those of our equity method investments. Future real estate sales, revenues, financial condition, results of operations and equity in earnings of investments could suffer as a result. Our business is sensitive to economic conditions in California, where our real estate development 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. In 2022, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System took actions in tightening the monetary policy that resulted in higher interest rates prevailing in the marketplace. Market interest rates may continue to 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.
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 real estate development projects are concentrated entirely in California.
All of our real estate development projects are located in California, and our business is especially sensitive to the economic conditions within California. Any adverse change in the economic climate of California, and any adverse change in the political or
regulatory climate of California or Ventura County, 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 ventures we entered into in November 2015 and October 2022 with the Lewis Group of Companies including:
•the joint ventures 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 ventures’ operating results to be less than expected;
•the joint ventures 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 ventures in the event external financing or project cash flows are not sufficient to finance the joint ventures’ 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 ventures or could result in a sale of a partner’s interest or the joint ventures 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 or financial condition. 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 agribusiness 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 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, 2022, directors and members of our executive management team beneficially owned or controlled approximately 3.2% 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.
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, 1,200 acres located in Yuma, Arizona, 3,500 acres in La Serena, Chile and 1,200 acres in Jujuy, Argentina. We also lease approximately 1,000 acres of land and have an interest in a partnership that owns approximately 200 acres of land. The land used for agricultural plantings consists of approximately 5,600 acres of lemons, approximately 900 acres of avocados, approximately 1,000 acres of oranges and approximately 1,000 acres of specialty citrus and other crops. Our agribusiness land holdings are summarized below as of October 31, 2022 (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||$||9,181 |
|Ducor Ranch||900 ||6,223 ||1997||$||6,914 |
|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||$||11,565 |
|Lemons 400||800 ||5,182 ||2013||$||6,478 |
|Sheldon Ranches||600 ||9,618 ||2016||$||16,030 |
|Pan de Azucar||200 ||2,292 ||2017||$||11,461 |
|San Pablo||3,300 ||5,586 ||2018||$||1,693 |
|Santa Clara||1,200 ||8,600 ||2019||$||7,167 |
|Other agribusiness land||400 ||1,539 ||various||$||3,848 |
| ||13,800 ||$||87,140 || || |
The book value of our agribusiness land holdings of approximately $87.1 million differs from the land balance of $87.6 million included in property, plant and equipment in the notes to the consolidated financial statements in Item 8 of this Annual Report. The table above presents our current land holdings in farming agribusiness operations.
We own our packing facilities located in Santa Paula, California and Yuma, Arizona, where we process and pack our lemons as well as lemons for other growers. We have a 5.5 acre, one-megawatt ground-based photovoltaic solar generator and one-megawatt roof array, 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 and maintain 257 residential units mainly 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 and have equity investments in real estate development property in the California County of Ventura. These properties are in various stages of development for up to approximately 900 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 use ground water provided by wells and surface water for our PDA and San Pablo farming operations in La Serena, Chile and our Trapani Fresh farming operations in Argentina.
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.
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
From time to time, we are a party to various lawsuits, arbitrations or mediations that arise in the ordinary course of business. The disclosure called for by Part II, Item 3 regarding our legal proceedings is incorporated by reference herein from Note 17 – Commitments and Contingencies of the Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in this Annual Report.
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 November 30, 2022, there were approximately 226 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, 2022||$||0.075 |
|Third Quarter Ended July 31, 2022||$||0.075 |
|Second Quarter Ended April 30, 2022||$||0.075 |
|First Quarter Ended January 31, 2022||$||0.075 |
|Fourth Quarter Ended October 31, 2021||$||0.075 |
|Third Quarter Ended July 31, 2021||$||0.075 |
|Second Quarter Ended April 30, 2021||$||0.075 |
|First Quarter Ended January 31, 2021||$||0.075 |
In December 2022, we declared our quarterly dividend of $0.075 per common share and we expect to continue to pay quarterly dividends at a similar rate to the extent permitted by the financial results of our business and other factors beyond management’s control.
The line graph above compares the percentage change in cumulative total stockholder return of our common stock registered under Section 12 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the “Exchange Act”) with (i) the cumulative total return of the Russell 2000 Index, assuming reinvestment of dividends, and (ii) the cumulative total return of Dow Jones U.S. Food Producers Index, assuming reinvestment of dividends.
Recent Sales of Unregistered Securities
Purchases of Equity Securities by Issuer and Affiliated Purchasers
|Period||Total Number of Shares Purchased(1)||Weighted Average Price Paid per Share||Total Number of Shares Purchased as Part of Publicly Announced Plans or Programs(2)||Maximum Number (or Approximate Dollar Value) of Shares that May Yet Be Purchased Under the Plans or Programs(2)|
|August 1, 2022 through August 31, 2022||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|September 1, 2022 through September 30, 2022||— ||$||— ||— ||— |
|October 1, 2022 through October 31, 2022||37,236 ||$||11.93 ||— ||— |
|Total||37,236 ||— ||— |
(1) Shares were acquired from our employees in accordance with our stock-based compensation plan as a result of share withholdings to pay income tax related to the vesting and distribution of restricted stock awards.
(2) In fiscal year 2021, our Company's Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding shares of common stock through September 2022. No shares have been repurchased under this program. As of October 31, 2022, the program has expired and there is no remaining authorization under this program.
Item 6. Reserved
Item 7. Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
The following Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations (MD&A) is intended to promote understanding of the results of operations and financial condition. MD&A is provided as a supplement to, and should be read in conjunction with, our consolidated financial statements and the accompanying Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements (Part II, Item 8 of this Form 10-K). 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 on Form 10-K. This section generally discusses the results of operations for fiscal year 2022 compared to fiscal year 2021. For discussion related to the results of operations and changes in financial condition for fiscal year 2021 compared to fiscal year 2020 refer to Part II, Item 7, Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations in our fiscal year 2021 Form 10-K, which was filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on January 10, 2022.
Limoneira Company, a Delaware corporation, is 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 have three business divisions: agribusiness, rental operations and real estate development. The agribusiness division is comprised of four reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing, avocados and other agribusiness, which includes oranges, specialty citrus and other crops. The agribusiness division includes our core operations of farming, harvesting, lemon packing and citrus sales operations. The rental operations division includes our residential and commercial rentals comprised of 257 completed rental units, 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 2022 Highlights and Recent Developments”
Results of Operations
The following table shows the results of operations for ($ in thousands):
| ||Years Ended October 31,|
| ||2022|| ||2021|| ||2020|| |
|Revenues:|| || || || || || |
|Agribusiness||$||179,281 ||97%||$||161,381 ||97%||$||159,937 ||97%|
|Other operations||5,324 ||3%||4,646 ||3%||4,622 ||3%|
|Total net revenues||184,605 ||100%||166,027 ||100%||164,559 ||100%|
|Costs and expenses:|
|Agribusiness||160,651 ||88%||148,492 ||86%||157,281 ||86%|
|Other operations||4,438 ||2%||4,332 ||3%||4,504 ||2%|
|(Gain) loss on disposal of assets ||(4,500)||(2)%||109 ||—||502 ||—%|
|Selling, general and administrative||21,815 ||12%||19,427 ||11%||21,280 ||12%|
|Total costs and expenses||182,404 ||100%||172,360 ||100%||183,567 ||100%|
|Operating income (loss):|| || || || || || |
|Agribusiness||18,630 || ||12,889 || ||2,656 || |
|Other operations||886 || ||314 || ||118 || |
|Gain (loss) on disposal of assets||4,500 ||(109)||(502)|
|Selling, general and administrative||(21,815)|| ||(19,427)|| ||(21,280)|| |
|Operating income (loss)||2,201 || ||(6,333)|| ||(19,008)|| |
|Other (expense) income:|| || || |
|Interest income||53 ||379 ||362 |
|Interest expense, net of patronage dividends||(2,291)|| ||(1,501)|| ||(2,048)|| |
|Equity in earnings of investments, net||1,341 || ||3,203 || ||339 || |
|Loss on stock in Calavo Growers, Inc.||— || ||— || ||(6,299)|| |
|Other (expense) income, net||(955)|| ||89 || ||219 || |
|Total other (expense) income||(1,852)|| ||2,170 || ||(7,427)|| |
|Income (loss) before income tax (provision) benefit||349 || ||(4,163)|| ||(26,435)|| |
|Income tax (provision) benefit||(823)|| ||266 || ||8,494 || |
|Net loss||(474)|| ||(3,897)|| ||(17,941)|| |
|Loss attributable to noncontrolling interest||238 || ||456 || ||1,506 || |
|Net loss attributable to Limoneira Company||$||(236)|| ||$||(3,441)|| ||$||(16,435)|| |
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 stock-based compensation, loss on stock in Calavo Growers, Inc. ("Calavo"), named executive officer cash severance, pension settlement cost and (gain) loss on disposal of assets, is an important measure to evaluate our results of operations between periods on a more comparable basis. Adjusted EBITDA in previous periods did not exclude stock-based compensation which has now been excluded as management believes this is a better representation of cash generated by operations and is consistent with peer company reporting. Adjusted EBITDA for prior periods has been restated to conform to the current presentation. 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 loss 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 attributable to Limoneira Company||$||(236)||$||(3,441)||$||(16,435)|
|Interest expense, net of patronage dividends||2,291 ||1,501 ||2,048 |
|Income tax provision (benefit)||823 ||(266)||(8,494)|
|Depreciation and amortization||9,798 ||9,812 ||10,097 |
|EBITDA||12,623 ||7,227 ||(13,146)|
|Stock-based compensation||2,732 ||2,582 ||2,044 |
|Loss on stock in Calavo Growers, Inc.||— ||— ||6,299 |
|Named executive officer cash severance||432 ||— ||— |
|Pension settlement cost||607 ||— ||— |
|(Gain) loss on disposal of assets||(4,500)||109 ||502 |
|Adjusted EBITDA||$||11,894 ||$||9,918 ||$||(4,301)|
Fiscal Year 2022 Compared to Fiscal Year 2021
Total revenues for fiscal year 2022 were $184.6 million compared to $166.0 million for fiscal year 2021. The 11% increase of $18.6 million was primarily the result of increased avocados, oranges and specialty citrus and other crops agribusiness revenues, as detailed below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Revenues for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Lemons||$||143,061 ||$||142,962 ||$||99 ||—%|
|Avocados||17,331 ||6,784 ||10,547 ||155%|
|Oranges||9,911 ||4,382 ||5,529 ||126%|
|Specialty citrus and other crops||8,978 ||7,253 ||1,725 ||24%|
|Agribusiness revenues||$||179,281 ||$||161,381 ||$||17,900 ||11%|
•Lemons: Lemon revenues in fiscal year 2022 were similar to fiscal year 2021. During fiscal years 2022 and 2021, fresh lemon sales were $92.9 million and $85.9 million on 4.9 million and 4.4 million cartons of fresh lemons packed and sold at average per carton prices of $18.77 and $19.60, respectively. Lemon revenues in fiscal years 2022 and 2021 included brokered fruit and other lemon sales of $24.5 million and $36.0 million, respectively, shipping and handling of $22.2 million and $17.5 million, respectively, and lemon by-products of $3.5 million in both fiscal years.
•Avocados: The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily the result of increased volume and higher prices of avocados sold compared to fiscal year 2021. The California avocado crop typically experiences alternating years of high and low production due to plant physiology. During fiscal years 2022 and 2021, 8.2 million and 5.7 million pounds of avocados were sold at average per pound prices of $2.08 and $1.20, respectively. Higher prices in fiscal year 2022 were primarily related to lower supply of fruit in the marketplace.
•Oranges: The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily due to increased brokered fruit sales and higher prices compared to fiscal year 2021. Orange revenues in fiscal year 2022 included brokered fruit sales of $5.0 million, compared to immaterial brokered fruit sales in fiscal year 2021, sold at average per carton prices of $14.66 and $8.04, respectively.
•Specialty citrus and other crops: The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily due to increased brokered fruit sales and higher prices of specialty citrus sold compared to fiscal year 2021. Specialty citrus revenues in fiscal year 2022 included brokered fruit sales of $2.9 million, compared to immaterial brokered fruit sales in 2021, sold at an average per carton price of $13.22 and $11.20, respectively.
Other operations revenue in fiscal year 2022 and 2021 was $5.3 million and $4.6 million, respectively.
Costs and Expenses
Total costs and expenses for fiscal year 2022 were $182.4 million compared to $172.4 million for fiscal year 2021. This 6% increase of $10.0 million was primarily attributable to increases in our agribusiness costs and selling, general and administrative expenses, partially offset by an increase in gain on disposal of assets. Costs associated with our agribusiness division include packing costs, harvest costs, growing costs, costs related to the lemons we procure from third-party growers and suppliers and depreciation and amortization expense. These costs are discussed further below ($ in thousands):
| ||Agribusiness Costs and Expenses for the Years Ended October 31,|
|Packing costs||$||45,448 ||$||38,754 ||$||6,694 ||17%|
|Harvest costs||20,767 ||17,227 ||3,540 ||21%|
|Growing costs||26,277 ||27,195 ||(918)||(3)%|
|Third-party grower and supplier costs||59,555 ||56,690 ||2,865 ||5%|
|Depreciation and amortization||8,604 ||8,626 ||(22)||—%|
|Agribusiness costs and expenses||$||160,651 ||$||148,492 ||$||12,159 ||8%|
•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 $43.0 million and $36.0 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively. The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily attributable to increased volume of fresh lemons packed and sold and higher average per carton costs compared to fiscal year 2021. In fiscal years 2022 and 2021, we packed and sold 4.9 million and 4.4 million cartons of lemons at average per carton costs of $8.69 and $8.22, respectively. The increase in average per carton costs in fiscal year 2022, compared to fiscal year 2021, was primarily due to higher costs in labor and benefits, fruit treatments, cardboard cartons and packing and shipping supplies. Additionally, in fiscal years 2022 and 2021, packing costs included $2.4 million and $2.7 million of shipping costs, respectively.
•Harvest costs: The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily attributable to increased volume of lemons and avocados harvested compared to fiscal year 2021.
•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 decrease in fiscal year 2022, compared to fiscal year 2021, reflects farm management decisions based on weather, harvest timing and crop conditions.
•Third-party grower and supplier costs: We sell fruit that we grow and fruit that we procure from other growers and suppliers. The cost of procuring fruit from others is referred to as third-party grower and supplier costs. The increase in fiscal year 2022 was primarily due to increased volume of fruit procured from third-party growers and suppliers compared to fiscal year 2021. In fiscal years 2022 and 2021, costs for purchased, packed fruit for resale increased by $0.9 million; we incurred costs of $26.2 million and $25.2 million, respectively. During fiscal years 2022 and 2021, of the 4.9 million and 4.4 million lemon cartons sold, 2.6 million (52%) and 2.3 million (52%) were procured from third-party growers and suppliers at average per carton prices of $13.03 and $13.83, respectively: an increase of $1.9 million.
•Depreciation and amortization: Depreciation and amortization expense in fiscal year 2022 was similar compared to fiscal year 2021.
Other operations expenses for fiscal years 2022 and 2021 were $4.4 million and $4.3 million, respectively.
(Gain) loss on disposal of assets for fiscal years 2022 and 2021 were $(4.5) million and $0.1 million, respectively. The change is primarily due to sales of East Area I Retained Property and Oxnard Lemon packing facility in fiscal year 2022.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for fiscal year 2022 were $21.8 million compared to $19.4 million for fiscal year 2021. The $2.4 million increase was primarily the result of:
•$1.0 million increase in salaries, benefits and incentive compensation;
•$0.8 million increase in named executive officer severance;
•$0.4 million increase in selling expenses; and
•$0.2 million increase in other selling, general and administrative expenses, including certain corporate overhead expenses.
Other (Expense) Income
Other (expense) income, for fiscal year 2022 was $(1.9) million compared to $2.2 million for fiscal year 2021. The $4.0 million increase in other expenses was primarily the result of:
•$0.8 million increase in interest expense, net as a result of increased interest rates;
•$1.9 million decrease in equity in earnings of investments primarily from LLCB; and
•$1.0 million increase in other expenses primarily from pension expense and pension settlement cost.
We recorded for fiscal years 2022 and 2021 income tax (provision) benefit of $(0.8) million and $0.3 million on pre-tax income (loss) of $0.3 million and $(4.2) million, respectively. The tax provision recorded for fiscal year 2022 differs from the U.S. federal statutory tax rate of 21% due primarily to foreign jurisdictions which are taxed at different rates, state taxes, tax impact of stock-based compensation, nondeductible tax items and valuation allowances on certain deferred tax assets of foreign subsidiaries. Our effective tax rate for fiscal years 2022 and 2021 was 234.8% and 6.4%, respectively.
Loss Attributable to Noncontrolling Interest
Loss attributable to noncontrolling interest primarily represents 10% and 49% of the net losses of PDA and Trapani Fresh, respectively.
Segment Results of Operations
We operate in four reportable operating segments: fresh lemons, lemon packing, avocados and other agribusiness. Our reportable operating segments are strategic business units with different products and services, distribution processes and customer bases. We evaluate the performance of our operating segments separately to monitor the different factors affecting financial results. Each segment is subject to review and evaluations related to current market conditions, market opportunities and available resources. See Note 20 - Segment Information for additional information regarding our operating segments.
Segment information for fiscal year 2022 (in thousands):
|Revenues from external customers||$||120,885 ||$||22,176 ||$||— ||$||17,331 ||$||18,889 ||$||179,281 ||$||5,324 ||$||184,605 |
|Intersegment revenues||— ||29,817 ||(29,817)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Total net revenues||120,885 ||51,993 ||(29,817)||17,331 ||18,889 ||179,281 ||5,324 ||184,605 |
|Costs and expenses||115,119 ||43,017 ||(29,817)||5,524 ||18,204 ||152,047 ||20,559 ||172,606 |
|Depreciation and amortization||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||8,604 ||1,194 ||9,798 |
|Operating income (loss)||$||5,766 ||$||8,976 ||$||— ||$||11,807 ||$||685 ||$||18,630 ||$||(16,429)||$||2,201 |
Segment information for fiscal year 2021 (in thousands):
|Revenues from external customers||$||125,448 ||$||17,514 ||$||— ||$||6,784 ||$||11,635 ||$||161,381 ||$||4,646 ||$||166,027 |
|Intersegment revenues||— ||25,637 ||(25,637)||— ||— ||— ||— ||— |
|Total net revenues||125,448 ||43,151 ||(25,637)||6,784 ||11,635 ||161,381 ||4,646 ||166,027 |
|Costs and expenses||116,117 ||36,018 ||(25,637)||4,211 ||9,157 ||139,866 ||22,682 ||162,548 |
|Depreciation and amortization||— ||— ||— ||— ||— ||8,626 ||1,186 ||9,812 |
|Operating (loss) income||$||9,331 ||$||7,133 ||$||— ||$||2,573 ||$||2,478 ||$||12,889 ||$||(19,222)||$||(6,333)|
Fiscal Year 2022 Segment Information Compared to Fiscal Year 2021 Segment Information
The following analysis should be read in conjunction with the previous section “Results of Operations.”
Fresh lemons segment revenue is comprised of sales of fresh lemons, lemon by-products, brokered fruit and other lemon revenue. For fiscal year 2022, our fresh lemons segment revenue was $120.9 million compared to $125.4 million for fiscal year 2021. The 4% decrease of $4.5 million was primarily the result of decreased brokered lemon sales, partially offset by increased fresh lemon sales, as discussed earlier.
Costs and expenses associated with our fresh lemons segment include harvest costs, growing costs, cost of fruit we procure from third-party growers and suppliers, transportation costs and packing service charges incurred from the lemon packing segment to pack lemons for sale. For fiscal year 2022, our fresh lemon costs and expenses were $115.1 million compared to $116.1 million for fiscal year 2021. The 1% decrease of $1.0 million primarily consisted of the following:
•Harvest costs for fiscal year 2022 were $2.9 million higher than fiscal year 2021;
•Growing costs for fiscal year 2022 were $2.2 million lower than fiscal year 2021;
•Third-party grower and supplier costs for fiscal year 2022 were $5.6 million lower than fiscal year 2021;
•Transportation costs for fiscal year 2022 were $0.3 million lower than fiscal year 2021; and
•Intersegment costs and expenses for fiscal year 2022 were $4.2 million higher than fiscal year 2021.
Lemon packing segment revenue is comprised of intersegment packing revenue and shipping and handling revenue. For fiscal year 2022, our lemon packing segment revenue was $52.0 million compared to $43.2 million for fiscal year 2021. The 20% increase of $8.8 million was primarily due to increased volume of lemons packed.
Costs and expenses associated with our lemon packing segment consist of the cost to pack lemons for sale such as labor and benefits, cardboard cartons, fruit treatments, packing and shipping supplies and facility operating costs. For fiscal year 2022, our lemon packing costs and expenses were $43.0 million compared to $36.0 million for fiscal year 2021. The 19% increase of $7.0 million was primarily due to increased volume of lemons packed and higher costs in labor and benefits, cardboard cartons, fruit treatments and packing and shipping supplies.
Lemon packing segment operating income per carton sold was $1.81 and $1.63 for fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively.
The lemon packing segment included $29.8 million and $25.6 million of intersegment revenues for fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively, which were charged to the fresh lemons segment to pack lemons for sale. Such intersegment revenues and expenses are eliminated in our consolidated financial statements.
For fiscal year 2022, our avocados segment revenue was $17.3 million compared to $6.8 million for fiscal year 2021, a 155% increase of $10.5 million.
Cost and expenses associated with our avocados segment include harvest costs and growing costs. For fiscal year 2022, our avocado costs and expenses were $5.5 million compared to $4.2 million for fiscal year 2021. The 31% increase of $1.3 million primarily consisted of the following:
•Harvest costs for fiscal year 2022 were $1.0 million higher than fiscal year 2021; and
•Growing costs for fiscal year 2022 were $0.3 million higher than fiscal year 2021.
For fiscal year 2022, our other agribusiness segment revenue was $18.9 million compared to $11.6 million for fiscal year 2021. The 62% increase of $7.3 million primarily consisted of the following:
•Orange revenue for fiscal year 2022 was $5.5 million higher than fiscal year 2021; and
•Specialty citrus and other crop revenue for fiscal year 2022 was $1.7 million higher than fiscal year 2021.
Costs and expenses associated with our other agribusiness segment include harvest, growing and brokered fruit costs. Our other agribusiness costs and expenses for fiscal year 2022 were $18.2 million compared to $9.2 million for fiscal year 2021. The 99% increase of $9.0 million primarily consisted of the following:
•Harvest costs for fiscal year 2022 were $0.4 million lower than fiscal year 2021;
•Growing costs for fiscal year 2022 were $0.9 million higher than fiscal year 2021; and
•Brokered fruit costs for fiscal year 2022 were $8.5 million higher than fiscal year 2021.
Total agribusiness depreciation and amortization for fiscal years 2022 and 2021 was $8.6 million.
Corporate and Other
Our corporate and other operations had rental revenues of approximately $5.3 million and $4.6 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively.
Costs and expenses in our corporate and other operations were approximately $20.6 million and $22.7 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively, and include rental operations costs, selling, general and administrative expenses not allocated to the operating segments, and (gain) loss on disposal of assets. Depreciation and amortization expenses were approximately $1.2 million in fiscal years 2022 and 2021.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
Our primary sources of liquidity are cash and cash flows generated from our operations and use of our revolving credit facility. Our liquidity and capital position fluctuates during the year depending on seasonal production cycles, weather events and demand for our products. Typically, our first and last fiscal quarters coincide with the fall and winter months during which we are growing crops that are harvested and sold in the spring and summer, which are our second and third quarters. To meet working capital demand and investment requirements of our agribusiness and real estate development projects and to supplement operating cash flows, we utilize our revolving credit facility to fund agricultural inputs and farm management practices until sufficient returns from crops allow us to repay amounts borrowed. Raw materials needed to propagate the various crops grown by us consist primarily of fertilizer, herbicides, insecticides, fuel and water, all of which are readily available from local sources.
Material contractual obligations arising in the normal course of business primarily consist of purchase obligations, long-term fixed rate and variable rate debt and related interest payments, operating and finance leases, financing transactions and our noncontributory, defined benefit pension plan (“the Plan”). In fiscal year 2021, we decided to terminate the Plan effective December 31, 2021. The liabilities disclosed as of October 31, 2022 and 2021, reflect an estimate of the additional cost to pay lump sums to a portion of the active and vested terminated participants and purchase annuities for all remaining participants from an insurance company. See Note 10 - Long-Term Debt, Note 12 - Leases and Note 16 - Retirement Plans for amounts outstanding on October 31, 2022, related to debt, leases and the Plan. Purchase obligations consist of contracts primarily related to packing supplies and pollination services, the majority of which are due in the next three years.
We believe that the cash flows from operations and available borrowing capacity from our existing credit facilities will be sufficient to satisfy our capital expenditures, debt service, working capital needs and other contractual obligations for the next twelve months. In addition, we have the ability to control a portion of our investing cash flows to the extent necessary based on our liquidity demands.
Cash Flows from Operating Activities
For the fiscal years ended October 31, 2022 and 2021, net cash provided by operating activities was $14.8 million and $9.6 million, respectively. Our cash flow provided by operating activities is primarily from agricultural sales and rental operations. Cash flow used in operations generally consists of agribusiness costs, rental operation costs, selling, general and administrative expenses. The significant components of our cash flows provided by operating activities are as follows.
•Net loss was $0.5 million and $3.9 million for fiscal years 2022 and 2021, respectively. The components of net loss in fiscal year 2022, compared to fiscal year 2021, consists of an increase in operating income of $8.5 million, an increase in total other expense of $4.0 million and an increase in income tax provision of $1.1 million.
•Adjustments to reconcile net loss to net cash provided by operating activities:
◦Adjustments provided $10.0 million of operating cash in fiscal year 2022, compared to providing $10.2 million of operating cash in fiscal year 2021, primarily due to significant changes in (gain) loss on disposal of assets, equity in earnings of investments, net, and other, net, which primarily related to pension expense and pension settlement cost.
◦Changes in operating assets and liabilities provided $5.3 million of operating cash in fiscal year 2022, compared to providing $3.3 million of operating cash in fiscal year 2021, primarily due to significant changes in accounts receivable and receivables/other from related parties, income taxes receivable, accounts payable and growers and suppliers payable and accrued liabilities and payables to related parties.
Cash Flows from Investing Activities
For the years ended October 31, 2022 and 2021, net cash provided by (used in) investing activities was $19.4 million and $(10.2) million, respectively, and is primarily comprised of capital expenditures, sales of assets, collection of notes receivable and investments.
•Capital expenditures for fiscal year 2022 were $10.1 million for property, plant and equipment, primarily related to orchards, and real estate development projects. Additionally, in fiscal year 2022 we received $19.3 million in net proceeds from sales of assets, $7.9 million in net proceeds from sales of real estate development assets and $2.8 million in collection of loan and notes receivable.
•Capital expenditures for fiscal year 2021 were comprised of $9.8 million for property, plant and equipment, primarily related to orchards, and real estate development projects. Additionally, in fiscal year 2021 we invested $0.7 million in mutual water companies and water rights.
Cash Flows from Financing Activities
For the years ended October 31, 2022 and 2021, net cash (used in) provided by financing activities was $(33.5) million and $0.5 million, respectively.
•The $(33.5) million of cash used in financing activities for fiscal year 2022 was primarily comprised of net repayments of long-term debt in the amount of $26.8 million. Additionally, in fiscal year 2022 we paid common and preferred dividends, in aggregate, of $5.8 million, paid $1.5 million for the exchange of common stock related to our employees restricted stock awards and received $1.0 million of proceeds from equipment financings.
•The $0.5 million of cash provided by financing activities for fiscal year 2021 was primarily comprised of net borrowings of long-term debt in the amount of $7.1 million. Additionally, in fiscal year 2021 we paid common and preferred dividends, in aggregate, of $5.8 million and paid $0.7 million for the exchange of common stock related to our employees restricted stock awards.
Transactions Affecting Liquidity and Capital Resources
Credit Facilities and Long-Term Debt
We finance our working capital and other liquidity requirements primarily through cash from operations and our Farm Credit West Credit Facility, which includes the Master Loan Agreement (the "MLA"), Supplements and Revolving Equity Line of Credit (the "RELOC"). In addition, we have the Farm Credit West term loans, Banco de Chile term loans and COVID-19 loans. Additional information regarding these loans can be found in Note 10 - Long-Term Debt.
In June 2021, we entered into the MLA with Farm Credit West, PCA (the "Lender") dated June 1, 2021, together with the Supplements and a Fixed Interest Rate Agreement, which extends the principal repayment to July 1, 2026. The MLA governs the terms of the Supplements.
The Supplements and RELOC provide aggregate borrowing capacity of $130.0 million comprised of $75.0 million under the Revolving Credit Supplement, $40.0 million under the Non-Revolving Credit Supplement and $15.0 million under the RELOC. As of October 31, 2022, our outstanding borrowings under the Farm Credit West Credit Facility were $88.5 million and we had $41.5 million of availability.
The MLA subjects us to affirmative and restrictive covenants including, among other customary covenants, financial reporting requirements, requirements to maintain and repair any collateral, restrictions on the sale of assets, restrictions on the use of proceeds, prohibitions on the incurrence of additional debt and restrictions on the purchase or sale of major assets of our business. We are also subject to a financial covenant that requires us to maintain compliance with a specified debt service coverage ratio greater than or equal to 1:25:1.0 on an annual basis. We were in compliance as of October 31, 2022.
In August 2021, we entered into the FCW term loan with the Lender and used the proceeds to pay off the Wells Fargo term loan. The FCW term loan has a fixed interest rate of 3.19% and is payable in monthly installments through September 2026.
In fiscal years 2022 and 2021 we received annual patronage dividends of $1.6 million and $1.2 million, respectively, from the Lender.
In fiscal year 2021, our Company's Board of Directors approved a share repurchase program authorizing us to repurchase up to $10.0 million of our outstanding shares of common stock through September 2022; no shares were repurchased under this program. In fiscal year 2020, we repurchased 250,977 shares for $3.5 million under a program which expired in March 2021.
The holders of the Series B Convertible Preferred Stock (the “Series B Stock”) and the Series B-2 Preferred Stock (the “Series B-2 Preferred Stock”) are entitled to receive cumulative cash dividends. Such preferred dividends paid totaled $0.5 million in each of the fiscal years 2022 and 2021.
Cash dividends declared in each of the fiscal years 2022 and 2021 totaled $0.30 per common share and such dividends paid totaled $5.3 million.
Real Estate Development Activities and Related Capital Resources
As noted under “Transactions Affecting Liquidity and Capital Resources,” we have the ability to control a portion of our investing cash flows to the extent necessary based upon our liquidity demands. In order for our real estate development operations to reach their maximum potential benefit to us, however, we will need to be successful over time in identifying other third-party sources of capital to collaborate with us to move those development projects forward. While we are frequently in discussions with potential external sources of capital in respect to all of our development projects, current market conditions for California real estate projects make it difficult to predict the timing and amounts of future capital that will be required to complete the development of our projects.
In November 2015, we entered into a 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. The first phase of the project broke ground to commence mass grading in November 2017. Project plans currently include approximately 1,500 residential units and site improvements. A total of 586 residential units have closed from the project's inception to October 31, 2022.
In October 2022, we entered into a joint venture with Lewis for the development of our 17-acre East Area I Retained Property. We formed LLCB II as the development entity, contributed our Retained Property to the joint venture and sold a 50% interest to Lewis for approximately $8.0 million. We recorded a gain on the transaction of approximately $4.7 million, of which $0.5 million was deferred.
The joint venture partners will share in the capital contributions to fund project costs until loan proceeds and/or revenues are sufficient to fund the projects. Since inception each partner has made funding contributions of $21.4 million to LLCB. We expect to receive approximately $115.0 million from LLCB and LLCB II over the seven remaining years of the projects, including the $8.0 million received in fiscal year 2022.
The commodity pricing for our fresh produce, and therefore our revenues and margins, is significantly impacted by consumer demand. The worldwide fresh produce industry has historically enjoyed consistent underlying demand and favorable growth dynamics. In recent years, the market for fresh produce has increased faster than the rate of population growth, supported by ongoing trends including greater consumer demand for healthy, fresh and convenient foods, increased retailer square footage devoted to fresh produce, and greater emphasis on fresh produce as a differentiating factor in attracting customers. Health-conscious consumers are driving much of the growth in demand for fresh produce. Over the past several decades, the benefits of natural, preservative-free and organic foods have become an increasingly significant element of the public dialogue on health and nutrition. As a result, consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables has markedly increased. Conversely, a decrease in demand, as was seen during the COVID-19 pandemic as a result of restaurant closures, has the impact of reducing our pricing and therefore our revenues and margins.
Critical Accounting Estimates
The preparation of our consolidated financial statements in accordance with GAAP requires us to develop critical accounting policies and make certain estimates, assumptions and judgments that may affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses. We base our estimates and judgments on historical experience, available relevant data and other information that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, and we continue to review and evaluate these estimates. Actual results may materially differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions as new or additional information become available in future periods. For further information on significant accounting policies, see discussion in Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies.
Impairment of Real Estate Development Projects – We evaluate our real estate development projects, held either by us or as included specifically within our investments in LLCB and LLCB II, for impairment on an ongoing basis. Our evaluation for impairment involves an initial assessment of each real estate development project to determine whether events or changes in circumstances exist that may indicate that the carrying amounts of, or investment in, real estate development are no longer recoverable. Possible indications of impairment may include events or changes in circumstances affecting the entitlement process, zoning, government regulation, geographical demand for new housing or commercial property, and market conditions related to residential or commercial land lots. When events or changes in circumstances exist, we further evaluate the real estate development for impairment by a) comparing undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated over the life of the real estate development to the respective carrying amount for our real estate development or b) determining if our equity in investment has incurred an other-than-temporary decline.
We make significant judgments in evaluating each real estate development project, as held by us or within our investments in LLCB and LLCB II, for possible indications of impairment. These judgments may relate to the identification of appropriate and comparable market prices, the consideration of changes to legal factors or the business climate, the likelihood of successfully completing the entitlement process, changes in zoning or government regulation, and demand for new housing. Changes in these judgments could have a significant impact on real estate development or equity in investments. For fiscal years 2022, 2021 and 2020, no impairment loss has been recognized on any real estate development and no other-than-temporary-impairment has been recognized on our equity in LLCB or LLCB II.
The impairment calculation for real estate developments held by us compares the carrying value of the asset to the asset’s estimated future cash flows (undiscounted). If the estimated future cash flows are less than the carrying value of the asset, we calculate an impairment loss. The impairment loss calculation compares the carrying value of the asset to the asset’s estimated fair value, which may be based on estimated future cash flows (discounted). We recognize an impairment loss equal to the amount by which the asset’s carrying value exceeds the asset’s estimated fair value. If we recognize an impairment loss, the adjusted carrying amount of the asset will be its new cost basis. Restoration of a previously recognized impairment loss is prohibited. If actual results are not consistent with our assumptions and judgments used in estimating future cash flows and asset fair values, we may be exposed to impairment losses that could be material to our results of operations.
Whenever events or changes in circumstances indicate that the carrying amount of our equity investments in LLCB and LLCB II might not be recoverable, then we determine whether an impairment is other-than-temporary. If we conclude the impairment is other-than-temporary, we determine the estimated fair value of the investment by performing a discounted cash flow or market approach analysis and recognize an other-than-temporary impairment to reduce the investment to its estimated fair value.
We believe that the accounting estimate related to impairment of real estate development projects held by us, or other-than-temporary impairment of our equity investments in LLCB and LLCB II, is a critical accounting estimate because it is very susceptible to change from period to period; it requires management to make assumptions about future prices, production, and costs,
and the potential impact of a loss from impairment could be material to our earnings. Management’s assumptions regarding future cash flows from real estate development projects or return on equity of our investments in LLCB and LLCB II have fluctuated in the past due to changes in prices, production and costs and are expected to continue to do so in the future as market conditions change.
Recent Accounting Pronouncements
See Note 2 - Summary of Significant Accounting Policies for information concerning recent accounting pronouncements.
Item 7A. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk
Interest Rate Risk
Borrowings under the Farm Credit West Credit Facility and Farm Credit West Term Loans are or will be subject to variable interest rates. These variable interest rates subject us to the risk of increased interest costs associated with any upward movements in interest rates. For the Farm Credit West Credit Facility and Farm Credit West Term Loans, our borrowing interest rate is an internally calculated rate based on Farm Credit West’s internal monthly operations and their cost of funds and generally follows the changes in the 90-day treasury rates in increments divisible by 0.25%. At October 31, 2022, our total debt outstanding under the Farm Credit West Credit Facility and the Farm Credit West Term Loans was $88.5 million and $16.0 million, respectively.
Based on our level of borrowings at October 31, 2022, a 100 basis points increase in interest rates would increase our interest expense $0.5 million for fiscal year 2023 and an annual average of $0.7 million for the three subsequent fiscal years. Additionally, a 100 basis points increase in the interest rate would decrease our net income by $0.4 million for fiscal year 2023 and an annual average of $0.5 million for the three subsequent fiscal years. Refer to “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations – Liquidity and Capital Resources” for additional information.
Item 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data
Index to Consolidated Financial Statements
|Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm|
|Consolidated Financial Statements of Limoneira Company|
|Consolidated Balance Sheets at October 31, 2022 and 2021|
|Consolidated Statements of Operations for the years ended October 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020|
|Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Loss for the years ended October 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020|
|Consolidated Statements of Stockholders’ Equity and Temporary Equity for the years ended October 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020|
|Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows for the years ended October 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020|
|Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements|
All schedules are omitted for the reason that they are not applicable or the required information is included in the Consolidated Financial Statements or the notes thereto.
Report of Independent Registered Public Accounting Firm
To the Stockholders and the Board of Directors of Limoneira Company
Opinion on the Financial Statements
We have audited the accompanying consolidated balance sheets of Limoneira Company and subsidiaries (the "Company") as of October 31, 2022 and 2021, the related consolidated statements of operations, comprehensive loss, stockholders' equity and temporary equity, and cash flows, for each of the three years in the period ended October 31, 2022, and the related notes (collectively referred to as the "financial statements"). In our opinion, based on our audits and the report of the other auditors, the financial statements present fairly, in all material respects, the financial position of the Company as of October 31, 2022 and 2021, and the results of its operations and its cash flows for each of the three years in the period ended October 31, 2022, in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America.
We did not audit the financial statements of Limoneira Lewis Community Builders, LLC (“LLCB”), the Company's investment in which is accounted for by use of the equity method. The accompanying consolidated financial statements of the Company include, before the basis difference and related amortization discussed in Note 6, its equity investment in LLCB of $52,431,000 and $51,416,000 as of October 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively, and its equity earnings in LLCB of $1,015,000, $4,508,000 and $1,386,000 for the years ended October 31, 2022, 2021 and 2020, respectively. The financial statements of LLCB were audited by other auditors whose report has been furnished to us, and our opinion, insofar as it relates to the amounts included for the Company’s equity investment and equity earnings in LLCB, is based on the report of the other auditors.
We have also audited, in accordance with the standards of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (United States) (PCAOB), the Company's internal control over financial reporting as of October 31, 2022, based on the criteria established in Internal Control — Integrated Framework (2013) issued by the Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission and our report dated December 22, 2022, expressed an unqualified opinion on the Company's internal control over financial reporting.
Basis for Opinion
These financial statements are the responsibility of the Company's management. Our responsibility is to express an opinion on the Company's financial statements based on our audits. We are a public accounting firm registered with the PCAOB and are required to be independent with respect to the Company in accordance with the U.S. federal securities laws and the applicable rules and regulations of the Securities and Exchange Commission and the PCAOB.
We conducted our audits in accordance with the standards of the PCAOB. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance about whether the financial statements are free of material misstatement, whether due to error or fraud. Our audits included performing procedures to assess the risks of material misstatement of the financial statements, whether due to error or fraud, and performing procedures that respond to those risks. Such procedures included examining, on a test basis, evidence regarding the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. Our audits also included evaluating the accounting principles used and significant estimates made by management, as well as evaluating the overall presentation of the financial statements. We believe that our audits and the report of the other auditors provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.
Critical Audit Matter
The critical audit matter communicated below is a matter arising from the current-period audit of the financial statements that was communicated or required to be communicated to the audit committee and that (1) relates to accounts or disclosures that are material to the financial statements and (2) involved our especially challenging, subjective, or complex judgments. The communication of critical audit matters does not alter in any way our opinion on the financial statements, taken as a whole, and we are not, by communicating the critical audit matter below, providing a separate opinion on the critical audit matter or on the accounts or disclosures to which it relates.
Real Estate Development – Impairment Indicators – Refer to Notes 2, 5 and 6 to the financial statements
Critical Audit Matter Description
The Company’s evaluation of real estate development, as held by the Company or as included specifically within its investment in LLCB, for impairment involves an initial assessment of each real estate development to determine whether events or changes
in circumstances exist that may indicate that the carrying amount of, or investment in, real estate development are no longer recoverable. Possible indications of impairment may include events or changes in circumstances affecting the entitlement process, zoning, government regulation, geographical demand for new housing or commercial property, and market conditions related to pricing of residential or commercial land lots. When events or changes in circumstances exist, the Company further evaluates the real estate development for impairment by a) comparing undiscounted future cash flows expected to be generated over the life of the real estate development to the respective carrying amount for its own real estate development or b) determining if its equity investment in LLCB has incurred an other-than-temporary decline.
The Company makes significant judgments in evaluating real estate development for possible indications of impairment. These judgments may relate to the identification of appropriate and comparable market prices, the consideration of changes to legal factors or the business climate, the likelihood of successfully completing the entitlement process, changes in zoning or government regulation, and demand for new housing. Changes in these judgments could have a significant impact on real estate development or equity investment in LLCB. Real estate development assets were $9,706,000, and equity investment in LLCB was $61,154,000 as of October 31, 2022. For the year ended October 31, 2022, no impairment loss has been recognized on the real estate development and no other-than-temporary-impairment has been recognized on the Company’s equity investment in LLCB.
We identified management judgments used in the determination of impairment indicators for real estate development as a critical audit matter because of the subjectivity used by management when determining whether events or changes in circumstances have occurred indicating that the carrying amount of, or investment in, real estate development may not be recoverable. This required a high degree of auditor judgment when performing audit procedures to evaluate whether management appropriately identified impairment indicators.
How the Critical Audit Matter Was Addressed in the Audit
Our audit procedures related to the evaluation of real estate development and equity investment in LLCB for possible indications of impairment included the following, among others:
•We tested the effectiveness of the controls over management’s identification of possible circumstances that may indicate that real estate development or equity investment in LLCB is no longer recoverable, including controls over management’s evaluation of the entitlement process, litigation, changes in zoning, government regulation, geographical demand and market conditions.
▪We evaluated management’s impairment analysis by:
◦Searching for adverse asset-specific and/or market conditions by reviewing publicly available information on land values in the surrounding regions of the development, periodicals and news information relating to the Southern California real estate market
◦Obtaining information from legal counsel and performing inquiries with management in order to evaluate any changes in the status of litigation matters affecting the development property and the potential impact on the ability to recover the accumulated costs, including any relevant government regulations and/or other matters impacting the entitlement process
◦Obtaining comparable land sales in the area and comparing such data to information used by management with the assistance of our fair value specialists
◦Developing an independent expectation of impairment indicators and comparing such expectation to management’s analysis
/s/ Deloitte & Touche LLP
Los Angeles, California
December 22, 2022
We have served as the Company’s auditor since 2019.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
($ in thousands, except share amounts)
| ||October 31,|
|Assets|| || |
|Current assets:|| || |
|Cash||$||857 ||$||439 |
|Accounts receivable, net||15,651 ||17,483 |
|Cultural costs||8,643 ||7,500 |
|Prepaid expenses and other current assets||8,496 ||10,709 |
|Receivables/other from related parties||3,888 ||5,958 |
|Total current assets||37,535 ||42,089 |
|Property, plant and equipment, net||222,628 ||242,420 |
|Real estate development||9,706 ||22,828 |
|Equity in investments||72,855 ||64,072 |
|Goodwill||1,506 ||1,527 |
|Intangible assets, net||7,317 ||8,329 |
|Other assets||16,971 ||11,011 |
|Total assets||$||368,518 ||$||392,276 |
|Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity|
|Accounts payable||$||10,663 ||$||8,963 |
|Growers and suppliers payable||10,740 |