Calavo Growers (CVGW) - Description of business
Item 1. Business
General development of the business
We engage in the procurement and marketing of avocados and other perishable foods and the preparation and distribution of processed avocado products. Our expertise in marketing and distributing avocados, processed avocados, and other perishable foods allows us to deliver a wide array of fresh and processed food products to food distributors, produce wholesalers, supermarkets, and restaurants on a worldwide basis. Through our three operating facilities in Southern California, our distribution centers in Texas and New Jersey (our New Jersey facility commenced operations in the first quarter of fiscal 2007), and our two facilities in Mexico, we sort, pack and/or ripen avocados procured in California and Mexico and prepare processed avocado products. Additionally, we procure avocados internationally, principally from Chile and the Dominican Republic, and distribute other perishable foods, such as Hawaiian grown papayas. We currently report our operations in two business segments, (1) fresh products and (2) processed products, down from three business segments disclosed in the prior year. See footnote 11 in our consolidated financial statements for further information about our business segments.
On October 9, 2001, we completed a series of transactions whereby common and preferred shareholders of Calavo Growers of California (the Cooperative), an agricultural marketing cooperative association, exchanged all of their outstanding shares for shares of our common stock. Concurrent with this transaction, the Cooperative was merged into us with Calavo Growers, Inc. (Calavo) emerging as the surviving entity. These transactions had the effect of converting the legal structure of the business from a non profit cooperative to a for-profit corporation. All references herein to us for periods prior to the merger refer to the business and operations of the Cooperative.
In February 2003, our Board of Directors approved a plan whereby the operations of our processed products business would be relocated. The plan called for the closing of our Santa Paula, California and Mexicali, Baja California Norte processing facilities and the relocation of these operations to a new facility in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico. This restructuring has provided for cost savings in the elimination of certain transportation costs, duplicative overhead structures, and savings in the overall cost of labor and services. The Uruapan facility commenced operations in February 2004 and the Santa Paula and Mexicali facilities were closed in February 2003 and August 2004. We incurred no costs related to this restructuring during fiscal 2006.
In November 2003, we acquired all the outstanding common shares of Maui Fresh International, Inc. (Maui). Maui distributes a multi-product line of produce through retail, food service and terminal market wholesale channels. Maui has significant operations in Santa Paula, California, Nogales, Arizona, and Hawaii. Maui packs and distributes a diversified line, comprised of more than 20 commodities, including tropical, speciality, and exotic fruits, chilies and hothouse-grown items, as well as other conventional fruits and vegetables.
In March 2005, we completed the sale of our old corporate headquarters building (located in Santa Ana) for $3.4 million. This transaction resulted in a pre-tax gain on sale of approximately $1.7 million. In conjunction with such sale, we relocated our corporate offices to Santa Paula, California in March 2005. Total expenses related to such relocation approximated $0.4 million.
In June 2005, in order to increase our market share of California avocados and increase synergies within the marketplace, we entered into a stock purchase agreement with Limoneira Company (Limoneira). Pursuant to such agreement, we acquired approximately 15.1% of Limoneiras outstanding common stock for $23.45 million and Limoneira acquired approximately 6.9% of our outstanding common stock for $10 million. The transaction was settled by a net cash payment by us of $13.45 million. Additionally, such agreement also provided for: (1) Calavo to lease office space from Limoneira in Santa Paula, California for a period of 10 years at an initial annual gross rental of approximately $0.2 million (subject to annual CPI increases, as defined), (2) Calavo to market Limoneiras avocados and (3) Calavo and Limoneira to use good faith reasonable efforts to maximize avocado packing efficiencies for both parties by consolidating their fruit packing operations. Various opportunities are currently being considered, including the use of existing packing facilities, an investment in existing vacant facilities, and/or an investment in a new consolidated facility for both parties. Limoneira primarily engages in growing citrus and avocados, picking and hauling citrus, and packing lemons. The issuances of the shares discussed above are exempt from registration under federal and state securities laws.
In August 2006, we entered into a joint venture agreement with San Rafael Distributing (SRD) for the purpose of the marketing, sale and distribution of fresh produce from the existing location of SRD at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market (Terminal Market), located in Los Angeles, California. Such joint venture operates under the name of Maui Fresh International, LLC (Maui Fresh) and commenced operations in August 2006. SRD and Calavo each have an equal one-half ownership interest in Maui Fresh, ut
SRD shall have overall management responsibility for the operations of Maui Fresh at the Terminal Market. We will use the equity method to account for our investment.
Our principal executive offices are located at 1141-A Cummings Road, Santa Paula, California 93060; telephone (805) 525-1245.
At October 31, 2006, we employed approximately 750 employees worldwide.
We maintain an Internet website at http://www.calavo.com. Our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to such reports filed or furnished pursuant to section 13(a) or 15(d) of the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and other information related to us, are available, free of charge, on our website as soon as reasonably practicable after we electronically file those documents with, or otherwise furnish them to, the Securities and Exchange Commission. Our Internet website and the information contained therein, or connected thereto, is not and is not intended to be incorporated into this Annual Report on Form 10-K.
Calavo was founded in 1924 to market California avocados. In California, the 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. The storage life of fresh avocados is limited. It 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.
The Hass variety is the predominant avocado variety marketed on a worldwide basis. California grown Hass avocados are available year-round, with peak production periods occurring between February through September. Other varieties have a more limited picking season and generally command a lower price. Approximately 2,300 growers deliver avocados to us, generally pursuant to a standard marketing agreement. Over the past several years, our share of the California avocado crop has remained strong, with approximately 36% of the 2006 California avocado crop handled by us, based on data published by the California Avocado Commission. We attribute our solid foothold in the California industry principally to the competitiveness of the per pound returns we pay and the communication and service we maintain with our growers.
California avocados delivered to our packinghouses are graded, sized, packed, cooled and, at times, ripened for delivery to customers. Our ability to estimate the size, as well as the timing of the delivery of the annual avocado crop, has a substantial impact on both our costs and the sales price we receive for the fruit. To that end, our field personnel maintain direct contact with growers and farm managers and coordinate harvest plans. The feedback from our field-managers is used by our sales department to prepare sales plans used by our direct sales force.
A significant portion of our costs are fixed. As a result, significant fluctuations in the volume of avocados delivered have a considerable impact on the per pound packing costs of avocados we handle. Generally, larger crops will result in a lower per pound handling cost. We believe that our cost structure is geared to optimally handle larger avocado crops. Our strategy calls for continued efforts in aggressively recruiting new growers, retaining existing growers, and procuring a larger percentage of the California avocado crop.
California avocados delivered to us are grouped as a homogenous pool on a weekly basis based on the variety, size, and grade. The proceeds we receive from the sale of each separate avocado pool, net of a packing and marketing fee to cover our costs and a profit, are paid back to the growers once each month. The packing and marketing fee we withhold is periodically determined and revised based on our estimated per pound packing and operating costs, as well as our operating profit. Significant competitive pressures dictate that we set the packing and marketing fee at the lowest possible level to attract new and retain existing grower business. We believe that, if net proceeds paid ceased to be competitive, growers would choose to deliver their avocados to alternate competitive handlers. Consequently, we strive to deliver growers the highest return possible on avocados delivered to our packinghouses.
The California avocado market is highly competitive with 9 major avocado handlers. A marketing order enacted by the state legislature is in effect for California grown avocados and provides the financial resource to fund generic advertising and promotional programs. Avocados handled by us are identifiable through packaging and the Calavo brand name sticker. We have developed a series of marketing and sales initiatives primarily aimed at our largest customers that are designed to differentiate our products and services from those offered by our competitors. Some of these key initiatives are as follows:
We continue to have success with our ProRipeVIP avocado ripening program. This proprietary program allows us to deliver avocados evenly ripened to our customers specifications. We have invested in the Aweta AFS (acoustic firmness sensor) technology and equipment. ProRipeVIP is the next generation of selling conditioned avocados that have firmness determined via soundwaves. This technology is new to avocados. The most significant and compelling reason we choose to invest in Aweta systems is because the acoustic sensors measure firmness of the entire piece of fruit, as opposed to competitive mechanical tests that use pressure and calculated averages to measure firmness. We believe that ripened avocados help our customers address the consumers immediate needs and accelerate the sale of avocados through their stores. We currently have three Aweta systems in use in the United States, which, we believe, can effectively meet our customers demand for conditioned fruit.
We have developed various display techniques and packages that appeal to consumers and, in particular, impulse buyers. Some of our techniques include the bagging of avocados and the strategic display of the bags within the produce section of retail stores. Our research has demonstrated that consumers generally purchase a larger quantity of avocados when presented in a bag as opposed to the conventional bulk displays. We also believe that the value proposition of avocados in a bag provides for a higher level of sales to grocery stores.
From time to time, we market our avocados under joint promotion programs with other food manufacturers. Under these programs, we seek to increase the promotional exposure of our products by providing certain sales incentives. These incentives will be offered in conjunction with various promotional campaigns designed to advertise the products of all parties involved. We believe these programs will help us minimize our advertising costs, as they will be shared with other parties, while still achieving recognition in the marketplace.
We sell avocados to a diverse group of supermarket chains, wholesalers, food service and other distributors, under the Calavo family of brand labels, as well as private labels. The consolidation in the supermarket industry has led to fewer, but bigger buyers. From time to time, sales are transacted via e-commerce. We believe that our largest customers will require us and our competitors to implement one or more e-commerce distribution solutions to facilitate their procurement and inventory management programs. In our judgment, the shift to e-commerce by our largest customers will favorably impact larger handlers like us, which have the ability and financial resources to support these strategies. From time to time, some of our larger customers seek short-term sales contracts that formalize their pricing and volume requirements. Generally, these contracts contain provisions that establish a price floor and/or ceiling during the contract duration. Again, in our judgment, the shift by our customers to drafting sales contracts benefits large handlers like us, which have the ability to fulfill the terms of these contracts. During fiscal year 2006, our 5 and 25 largest customers represented approximately 21% and 42% of our total consolidated revenues. During fiscal years 2006, 2005 and 2004 none of our California avocado customers represented more than 10% of total consolidated revenues.
We leverage our expertise in the handling and marketing of California avocados to our non-California sourced avocados and perishable food products. We believe that the sales generated from these sources complement our offering of California avocados to our customers and stabilize the supply of avocados during seasons of low California production. Sales generated from these sources include avocados grown outside of California and other perishable food products, such as papayas, tomatoes, ginger, and pineapple. We primarily import and market avocados from Mexico and Chile. We handle some of these products on a consignment basis for the suppliers. Pursuant to these arrangements, from time to time, we make advances to Chilean packers and Mexican growers. Historically, we made such advances related to both pre-harvest and post-harvest activities, but our focus during fiscal 2006 was primarily related to post-harvest activities. Typically, we obtain collateral (i.e. fruit, fixed assets, etc.) that approximates the value at risk, prior to making such advances. Historical experience demonstrates that providing post-harvest advances results in our acquiring full market risk for the product, as it is possible (although unlikely) that our resale proceeds may be less than the amounts we paid to the grower. This is a result of the high level of volatility inherent in the avocado and perishable food markets, which are subject to significant pricing declines based on the availability of fruit in the market. In the event that we do make a pre-season advance, our ability to recover such pre-harvest advance would be largely dependent on the growers ability to deliver avocados to us, as well as the inherent risks of farming, such as weather and pests. We do not anticipate making significant pre-season advances during fiscal 2007.
Net sales generated by non-California sourced avocados depend principally on the availability of Chilean and Mexican grown avocados in the U.S. markets. In November 2004, the United States Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) published a rule allowing Hass avocado imports from Mexico into all 50 states year round (up from 31 states for only a six month period), except for California, Florida, and Hawaii. We expect the restriction on such states to be lifted in February 2007. For the remaining 47 states, however, Mexico was able to deliver its fruit for all of fiscal 2006 and 2005. The implementation of this rule resulted in a significant increase in the sale of Mexican sourced fruit during fiscal 2005, as compared to fiscal 2004. See Item 7 for a detailed description of such increase.
In 1998, we invested in the Mexican avocado market by building a packinghouse in Uruapan, Mexico. We believe that our continued success in marketing Mexican avocados is largely dependent upon securing a reliable, high-quality supply of avocados at
reasonable prices. The Mexican avocado harvest is both complimentary and competitive with the California market, as the Mexican harvest typically runs from September to June. As a result, it is common for Mexican growers to monitor the supply of avocados for export to the United States in order to obtain higher field prices. During 2006, we packed and distributed approximately 18% of the avocados exported from Mexico into the United States and approximately 5% of the avocados exported from Mexico to countries other than the United States, based on our estimates.
In recent years, the volume of avocados exported by Chilean growers to the United States has continued to increase. Chilean growers continue to increase/monitor avocado plantings to capitalize on returns available in the worldwide avocado markets. Sales of Chilean grown avocados have generally been significant during our 4 th and 1 st fiscal quarters. Additionally, with the Chilean harvesting season being complimentary to the California season (August through February), Chilean avocados are able to command competitive retail pricing in the market. During 2006, we distributed approximately 7% of the Chilean imports into the United States, based on our estimates.
In recent years, our distribution of other perishable food products has generally been limited to papayas procured from a Hawaiian packing operation, which is owned by the Chairman of our Board of Directors, Chief Executive Officer and President. The acquisition of Maui, however, expanded our perishable food products to include additional papayas, tomatoes, chili peppers, pineapples, and ginger. While Maui has numerous product offerings, the aforementioned commodities account for the majority of its sales.
Maui has operations in Arizona, California, and Hawaii. The primary focus of these operations is the growing, shipping and distribution of fresh produce. Maui primarily sources its products from the United States and Mexico and has customers located primarily in the United States and Canada. These customers are principally in the retail, foodservice, and wholesale sectors. Maui does not experience significant fluctuations in sales related to seasonality.
In the 1960s and early 1970s, we pioneered the process of freezing avocado pulp and developed a wide variety of guacamole recipes to address the diverse tastes of consumers and buyers in the food service industry. Our customers include both companies in the food service industry and the retail business. Sales are made principally through a commissioned nationwide broker network, which is supported by our regional sales managers. We believe that our marketing strength is distinguished by providing quality products, innovation, year-round product availability, strategically located warehouses, and market relationships. During fiscal year 2006, our 5 and 25 largest customers represented approximately 7% and 12% of our total consolidated revenues. During fiscal years 2006, 2005 and 2004 none of our processed product customers represented more than 10% of total consolidated revenues.
The processed product segment was originally conceived as a mechanism to stabilize the price of California avocados by reducing the volume of avocados available to the marketplace. With the introduction of low cost processed products delivered from Mexican based processors, however, we realigned the segments strategy by shifting the fruit procurement and pulp processing functions to Mexico. In 1995, we invested in a processing plant in Mexicali, Mexico to derive the benefit of competitive avocado prices available in Mexico.
In February 2003, our Board of Directors approved a plan whereby the operations of our processed products business would be relocated. The plan called for the closing of our Santa Paula, California and Mexicali, Baja California Norte (Mexicali) processing facilities and relocating these operations to a new facility in Uruapan, Michoacan, Mexico (Uruapan). This restructuring has provided for cost savings in the elimination of certain transportation costs, duplicative overhead structures, and savings in the overall cost of labor and services. The Uruapan facility commenced operations in February 2004 and the Santa Paula and Mexicali facilities ceased production in February 2003 and August 2004.
Through January 2003, the primary function of our Mexicali processed operation was to produce pulp for our Santa Paula plant. Our processing facility in Santa Paula, California would receive the pulp from Mexicali, add ingredients, and package the product in various containers. The product would then be frozen for storage with shipment to warehouses and, ultimately, to our customers. From January 2003 to August 2004, however, our Mexicali processed operations became primarily focused on our individually quick frozen (IQF) avocado half product line and one of our high-pressure lines.
Our IQF line provides food service and retail customers with peeled avocado halves that are ripe and suitable for immediate consumption. These halves were frozen, packaged and shipped out of Mexicali to warehouses located in the U.S., and, ultimately, to our customers.
During fiscal year 2006, we primarily operated one high-pressure line designed to manufacture processed avocado products that are not frozen (guacamole) in Uruapan. This machine ran at about 80% capacity during fiscal 2006. We anticipate that we will
operate such high-pressure machine at a similar capacity during fiscal year 2007. We presently own another, much smaller, high-pressure machine, also located in Uruapan, that was used occasionally during fiscal 2006. We anticipate trading such smaller machine in for credit towards another large high-pressure machine (similar to the large machine that is currently in use in Uruapan), once we receive the second high-pressure machine. This second large high-pressure machine was ordered in July 2006 and is expected to be received during our second fiscal quarter of 2007. Utilizing avocado pulp and chunks, these high-pressure machines allow us to deliver fresh guacamole to retail and food service customers. Sales of our high-pressure product totaled approximately $13.9 million and $8.7 million for fiscal years 2006 and 2005.
Although the additions of these product offerings are fairly recent, we believe that these high pressure machines will position our company to deliver the widest available array of processed avocado products to our customers. Consequently, we believe we are currently the only single source company supplying the complete range of processed avocado products, including frozen guacamole, ultra high pressure treated guacamole, and frozen avocado halves to foodservice and retail customers.
Sales and Other Financial Information by Business Segment and Product Category
Sales and other financial information by business segment are provided in Note 11 to our consolidated financial statements that are included in this Annual Report.
Patents and Trademarks
Our trademarks include the Calavo brand name and related logos. We also utilize the following trademarks in conducting our business: Avo Fresco, Bueno, Calavo Gold, Celebrate the Taste, El Dorado, Fresh Ripe, Select, Taste of Paradise, The First Name in Avocados, Tico, Mfresh, and Triggered Avocados, and ProRipeVIP.
Working Capital Requirements
Generally, we make payments to our California avocado growers and other suppliers in advance of collecting all of the related accounts receivable. We generally bridge the timing between vendor payments and customer receipts by using operating cash flows and commercial bank borrowings. In addition, we provide crop loans and other advances to some of our growers, which are also funded through operating cash flows and borrowings. We generally experience larger levels of commercial bank borrowings during the California Hass avocado crop harvesting season.
Non-California sourced avocados and perishable food products often requires working capital to finance the payment of advances to suppliers and collection of accounts receivable. These working capital needs are also financed through the use of operating cash flows and bank borrowings and are generally concentrated during the Chilean Hass avocado crop harvesting season.
With respect to our processed products business, we require working capital to finance the production of our processed avocado products, building and maintaining an adequate supply of finished product, and collecting our accounts receivable balances. These working capital needs are financed through the use of operating cash flows and bank borrowings.
Our customers do not place product orders significantly in advance of the requested product delivery dates. Customers typically order perishable products two to ten days in advance of shipment, and typically order processed products within thirty days in advance of shipment.
Research and Development
We do not undertake significant research and development efforts. Research and development programs, if any, are limited to the continuous process of refining and developing new techniques to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of our processed products operations and the handling, ripening, storage, and packing of fresh avocados.
Compliance with Government Regulations
The California State Department of Food and Agriculture oversees the packing and processing of California avocados and conducts tests for fruit quality and packaging standards. All of our packages are stamped with the state seal as meeting standards. Various states have instituted regulations providing differing levels of oversight with respect to weights and measures, as well as quality standards.
The USDA regulates and reviews imported food products. In particular, the USDA regulates the distribution of Mexican avocados within 47 states in the U.S. by requiring avocado importers and handlers to execute compliance agreements. These agreements represent an acknowledgment by handlers of the distribution restrictions placed on Mexican avocados and are used as a tool to ensure compliance with existing regulations. From time to time, we have been approached by USDA representatives in their oversight of the compliance agreement process. We continue to consult with USDA representatives to ensure that our systems of internal control provide a high level of reliability in securing compliance agreements on behalf of our customers.
As a manufacturer and marketer of processed avocado products, our operations are subject to extensive regulation by various federal government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as state and local agencies, with respect to production processes, product attributes, packaging, labeling, storage and distribution. Under various statutes and regulations, these agencies prescribe requirements and establish standards for safety, purity and labeling. In addition, advertising of our products is subject to regulation by the FTC, and our operations are subject to certain health and safety regulations, including those issued under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Our manufacturing facilities and products are subject to periodic inspection by federal, state and local authorities.
As a result of our agricultural and food processing activities, we are subject to numerous environmental laws and regulations. These laws and regulations govern the treatment, handling, storage and disposal of materials and waste and the remediation of contaminated properties.
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 or requirements 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.
As of October 31, 2006, we had approximately 750 employees, of which approximately 230 were located in the United States and 520 were located in Mexico. None of Calavos United States employees are covered by a collective bargaining agreement. Approximately 450 of Calavos Mexican employees are represented by a union. We consider the relationship with our employees to be good and we have never experienced a significant work stoppage.
The following is a summary of the number of salaried and hourly employees as of October 31, 2006.
Although agriculture is a seasonal industry, avocados have a wider window of production than most perishable commodities. Consequently, we employ hourly personnel more routinely throughout the year when compared to other agriculture-dependent companies.
Item 1A. Risk Factors
Risks Related to Our Business
We are subject to increasing competition that may adversely affect our operating results.
The market for avocados and processed avocado products is highly competitive and affects each of our businesses. Each of our businesses are subject to competitive pressures, including the following:
California avocados are impacted by an increasing volume of foreign grown avocados being imported into the United States. Recently, there have been significant plantings of avocados in Mexico, Chile, New Zealand, the Dominican Republic, and other parts of the world, which have had, and will continue to have, the effect of increasing the volume of foreign grown avocados entering the United States market. Generally, an increase in foreign grown avocados in the markets we distribute in has the effect of lowering prices for California grown avocados and adversely impacting our results from operations.
California avocado are subject to competition from other California avocado handlers. If we are unable to consistently pay California growers a competitive price for their avocados, these growers may choose to have their avocados marketed by alternate handlers.
Non-California sourced avocados and perishable food products are impacted by competitors operating in Mexico. Generally, handlers of Mexican grown avocados operate facilities that are substantially smaller than our facility in Uruapan, Mexico. If we are unable to pack and market a sufficient volume of Mexican grown avocados, smaller handlers will have a lower per unit cost and be able to offer Mexican avocados at a more competitive price to our customers.
Non-California sourced avocados and perishable food products are also subject to competition from other California avocado handlers that market Chilean grown avocados. If we are unable to consistently pay Chilean packers a competitive price for their avocados, these packers may choose to have their avocados marketed by alternate handlers.
We are subject to the risks of doing business internationally.
We conduct a substantial amount of business with growers and customers who are located outside the United States. We purchase avocados from foreign growers and packers, sell fresh avocados and processed avocado products to foreign customers, and operate a packinghouse and a processing plant in Mexico. For additional information about our non-California sourced fruit, see the Business section included in this Annual Report.
Our current international operations are subject to a number of inherent risks, including:
Local economic and political conditions, including disruptions in trading and capital markets;
Restrictive foreign governmental actions, such as restrictions on transfers of funds and trade protection measures, including export duties and quotas and customs duties and tariffs;
Changes in legal or regulatory requirements affecting foreign investment, loans, taxes, imports, and exports; and
Currency exchange rate fluctuations which, depending upon the nature of the changes, may make our domestic-sourced products more expensive compared to foreign grown products or may increase our cost of obtaining foreign-sourced products.
We and our growers are subject to the risks that are inherent in farming.
Our results of operations may be adversely affected by numerous factors over which we have little or no control and that are inherent in farming, including reductions in the market prices for our products, adverse weather and growing conditions, pest and disease problems, and new government regulations regarding farming and the marketing of agricultural products.
We are subject to rapidly changing USDA and FDA regulations which govern the importation of foreign avocados into the United States and the processing of processed avocado products.
The USDA has established, and continues to modify, regulations governing the importation of avocados into the United States. Our permits that allow us to import foreign-sourced avocados into the United States generally are contingent on our compliance with these regulations. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if we are unable to comply with existing and modified regulations and are unable to secure avocado import permits in the future.
The FDA establishes, and continues to modify, regulations governing the production of processed avocado products. Our results of operations may be adversely affected if we are unable to comply with existing and modified regulations.
Our business could be adversely affected if we lost key members of our management.
We are dependent on the efforts and performance of our current directors and officers. If we were to lose any key members of management, our business could be adversely affected. You should read the information under Executive Officers in this Annual Report for additional information about our management.
The acquisition of other businesses could pose risks to our operating income.
We intend to review acquisition prospects that would 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 assimilation of the acquired operations, diversion of managements attention to other business concerns, risks of entering markets in which we have limited prior experience, and the 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.
Our ability to competitively serve our customers is a function of reliable and low cost transportation. Disruption of the supply of these services and/or significant increases in the cost of these services could impact our operating income.
We use multiple forms of transportation to bring our products to market. They include ocean, truck, and air-cargo. Disruption to the timely supply of these services or dramatic increases in the cost of these services for any reason including availability of fuel for such services, labor disputes, or governmental restrictions limiting specific forms of transportation could have an adverse effect on our ability to serve our customers and consumers and could have an adverse effect on our financial performance.
Item 1B. Unresolved Staff Comments