Branded mac nut goods help Royal Hawaiian turn a profit
An earlier start to the fall macadamia nut harvest helped Hawaii’s largest producer of the crop turn a profit in the third quarter compared with a loss a year ago. Royal Hawaiian Orchards LP earned $161,000 in the three-month period ended Sept. 30, up from a $17,000 loss a year earlier, according to a financial report filed Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hilo-based company, which farms about 5,400 acres of macadamia trees on Hawaii island, realized its bottom-line turnaround while revenue slipped 21 percent to $6 million in the recent quarter from $7.6 million a year earlier. Royal Hawaiian had lower revenue because it sold far fewer processed nuts in bulk to wholesale purchasers. On another hand, the company sold more unprocessed nuts in bulk and more branded snack products that it makes for sale in retail stores using much of its crop.
“Our emphasis on selling branded macadamia nut products versus selling bulk macadamia nuts is adjusted based on the relative profitability and cash flow provided by the respective channels,” the company said in the report.
During the second quarter, Royal Hawaiian said it had reduced the variety of its branded products available in stores and was looking at reducing the number and types of retail channels for those products. But in the third quarter, sales revenue for branded products doubled to $2.6 million from $1.3 million in last year’s third quarter.
Royal Hawaiian began making packaged snacks in 2012 with a goal of earning a bigger return on its crop, which historically was sold only raw in bulk, primarily to snack maker Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corp. Initially, Royal Hawaiian developed a dozen varieties of flavored nuts and fruitand-nut clusters. That was followed with dark-chocolate-covered macadamias in 2015 and then macadamia butter and milk last year. Mauna Loa is still a substantial buyer of unprocessed mac nuts from Royal Hawaiian, which sold 18 percent of its crop last year to Mauna Loa. Partnership shares in Royal Hawaiian — which typically trade lightly on an over-thecounter stock exchange and are mainly held by Denver investor and former Quark Software Inc. CEO Farhad “Fred” Ebrahimi — most recently traded on Monday and closed at $2.12. Over the last 52 weeks, Royal Hawaiian shares have closed between a $3.01 high on Dec. 16 and a $1.80 low on May 4.