California avocado shipper Prime Produce International LLC has gone out of business.

In a Dec. 8 news release, Avi Crane, president of Orange-based Prime, said the company had ceased operations after it failed to secure credit from lenders.

Avocado shipper Prime Produce closes doors


According to the release, a computer software error had overstated the company’s 2009 profits. Once the error was discovered and the correct profit figure determined, Prime’s primary lender closed the company’s line of credit. Prime then tried in vain to secure credit elsewhere.

Founded by Crane in March 2004, Prime opened a Mexico sourcing office in 2007 and sold over 1 million cartons of avocados from various growing regions in 2008, according to the release. The company’s 2008 revenues totaled $27.5 million.

Crane said he intended to remain in produce.

“It is with great regret that I had to make the decision to close our doors,” he said in the release. “The Crane family has been in the produce industry for three decades. We plan to spend more decades in the produce industry.”

Before founding Prime, Crane was the vice president of international sales for avocado shipper Calavo Growers Inc., Santa Paula, Calif.

Crane also has served as general manager for the avocado division of Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International and as vice president of the Irvine-based California Avocado Commission.