(April 10, 9:10 a.m.) Landec Corp., the Menlo Park, Calif.-based parent company of Apio Inc., went against the economic grain with its latest financial report, and the company has fresh-cut produce largely to thank for it.

Landec reported on April 7 that its revenues for the first nine months of fiscal year 2009 increased 1.4% to $183.7 million compared to revenues of $181.2 million for the same period a year ago. The increase in overall revenues of $2.5 million was due to a $4 million or 8% increase in revenues from domestic buy/sell revenues from Guadalupe, Calif.-based Apio.

“We’re making money and generating cash, which is saying quite a lot in the current economy,” said Greg Skinner, Landec’s chief financial officer. “(Apio is) most of our revenue. Ever since we acquired them in 2000, they have been the lion’s share in terms of our revenues.”

Skinner said of the $239 million in revenues Landec posted in 2008, $169 million were derived from the fresh-cut business.

Apio deals completely in value-added fresh-cut vegetables and is known primarily for its wide selection of broccoli packaging, marketed under the company’s Eat Smart brand, said Ericka Horn, assistant marketing manager for Apio. Broccoli is offered in most items, including slaws and salads. Snap peas and snow peas also are offered. Popular items include its packaging for broccoli cauliflower and a broccoli salad kit it markets to Costco, Horn said.

Skinner said Landec’s balance sheet contains no debt and a record level of nearly $64 million in cash and marketable securities.

The news wasn’t all positive, however. Net income for the first nine months decreased to $5.9 million or 22 cents per diluted share compared to net income of $10.2 million or 38 cents per diluted share for the same period last year. For the third quarter of 2009, revenues were $53.9 million versus $59.6 million a year ago in the same quarter. Net income for that quarter was $1.5 million or six cents per diluted share compared to $4 million or 15 cents a year ago.

Even the revenue increase over the first nine months of the fiscal year was partially offset by a $1.3 million or 1% decrease in revenues from Apio’s value-added specialty packaging vegetable products.

However, Skinner and the report were quick to point out that volume sales for the entire fresh-cut category declined 8% during the first nine months of the fiscal year and 13% the last quarter. Landec’s volume sales in fresh-cut for identical periods were down 1% and 5% respectively.

“I think it’s going to continue to be down for the near-term,” Skinner said. “March was down, but down less than February. It’s like we’ve hit bottom, and, while we’re not rocketing to positive, anything moving in that direction is a positive.

“When we get to the summer months, people tend to head outside and like to eat fresh,” Skinner said. “Hopefully, we’ll see a pick up over the summer months.”