“For the second consecutive year, Sunkist Growers generated more than $1 billion dollars in overall revenue,” Sunkist President and CEO Russell Hanlin told members as he summarized the 2010-11 operating year at the company’s Sherman Oaks headquarters on March 1. “Your cooperative is in excellent financial shape and is extremely well capitalized with close to $80 million in member equity and virtually no debt.” 

In other positive news, Hanlin reported grower payments for crops sold at $803 million. This was up $14 million over the previous year, yielding the best results of the past three years. He also noted that citrus juice and oil sales generated $88 million – the best results in more than a decade.

Reviewing last year’s results, Hanlin said that the sales team overcame the challenge of moving a 93-million-carton Navel orange crop − the largest in history − which delivered a large percentage of smaller sized fruit. To add to the difficulty, heavy rainfall adversely impacted the overall fruit quality. “Despite nature’s handicap, export shipments were some of the highest ever achieved,” he reported. Sales summaries for other citrus varieties showed increases over the previous year for Valencia oranges, lemons and limes, grapefruit, mandarins, tangerines and other specialties. 

“Sunkist’s role is to create grower value,” Hanlin said, “and we do this is in a variety of ways starting with the value we create with the fruit you grow.”  A recent change to Sunkist’s Citrus Juice & Oils business, which processes by-products fruit, is expected to yield positive results, he said.  “In 2011, we entered into a joint venture with another processor, Ventura Coastal, in what we believe is a fabulous deal for both companies.” The new 50%/50% joint venture processing company began operating both Sunkist’s Tipton facility and Ventura Coastal’s Visalia facility on February 1, 2012. “The operations of the two plants are extremely complementary,” he added.