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Macadamia orchards produce profits

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ML Macadamia Orchards LP, the state’s largest macadamia nut grower, swung to a profit in the first quarter as increased rainfall helped boost production.

The Hilo-based company had a profit of $49,000, or 1 cent per Class A unit, compared with a loss of $25,000, or break-even per Class A unit, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 5.9 percent to $2.5 million from $2.3 million.

ML Macadamia Orchards said rainfall in the company’s Kau orchards quadrupled to 12 inches last quarter from less than 3 inches in the first three months of 2010. The increased precipitation helped boost nut output to 3 million contract pounds from 1.6 million contract pounds a year earlier.

Macadamia nut sales jumped 84.9 percent to $2.2 million from $1.2 million a year earlier, while contract farming revenue declined 72.8 percent to $320,000 from $1.2 million.

ML Macadamia bought International Air Service Co. Ltd. orchards in August.

All of ML Macadamia’s production this year will be sold to Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp., with about 80 percent under fixed-price contracts of 73 cents per pound — the same as in 2010 — and the remaining 20 percent under the market-based contracts acquired from International Air Service.

ML Macadamia said the majority of its financial results will depend on third- and fourth-quarter harvest levels. It said rainfall in the Kau region has improved over the past six months, but there is no guarantee that production this year will rebound to historic levels.

Shares of the company rose 5 cents to $2.69 yesterday on the Pink Sheets. Results were released after the market closed.

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