Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE: FDP) reported that its first quarter profits more than tripled due to improved operations and gains from the sale of certain business units, sending shares rocketing in Tuesday trading.

The firm jumped $4.52, or 22.2 percent to $24.89 after the company reported net income of $51.6 million, or 89 cents per share for the first quarter. During the same period last year the company posted income of $16.5 million, or 28 cents per share.

Analysts had been expecting the company to produce earnings per share of 40 cents, according to data compiled by Thomson Financial.

The first quarter of 2007 was the best quarter we have had in two years, said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Fresh Del Monte's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Higher profits came from trimming costs, focusing resources, and making the business stronger, Ghazaleh explained in a statement. The company also saw gains reflected from the $2.9 million sale of its Hawaiian pineapple operation.

I am gratified that we are now seeing the positive results from the difficult decisions we have made over this challenging period, Ghazaleh added.

The global supplier of fresh fruits and vegetables earned $836 million in sales, marginally down from the $840 million seen in the same quarter the previous year.