Challenges in Europe contribute to Dole loss

by Staff
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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. — Challenges in the European market contributed to Dole Food Co., Inc. posting a loss during the third quarter, but the company did narrow its loss somewhat from the previous year.

For the quarter ended Oct. 8, the company suffered a loss of $47 million, which compared with a loss of $49 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the quarter was $2,086 million, up 5% from $1,989 million.

“Following very strong earnings in the first half of this year, we encountered a challenging market in Europe in the third quarter, as anticipated,” said David A. DeLorenzo, president and chief executive officer. “Given the positive results of the efficiency and cost measures we took last year, we are implementing additional restructuring initiatives focused on further improving our European profitability in 2012. Our packaged salads business continued to improve in the quarter; however weaker performance in fresh-packed vegetables due primarily to lower iceberg lettuce pricing, impacted the results. Our packaged foods segment performed well as higher prices offset rising costs. We also launched several exciting new frozen fruit products in the quarter, including Fruit Smoothie Shakers and Frozen Fruit Single-serve Cups.

“We are very pleased with our recent acquisition of SunnyRidge Farm. Their premium fresh blueberry and blackberry operations are an excellent strategic complement to our existing fresh and frozen strawberry businesses. This acquisition affords opportunities for synergies as well as growth in this higher margin and fast-growing category. Additionally, we have continued to make good progress on our non-core asset sale program, having sold about 400 acres of Hawaii agricultural land for $10.4 million during the quarter, and sold our ripening business in Spain to Compagnie Fruitière, in which Dole owns a 40% interest, shortly after the quarter closed for €15 million, or about $21 million.”

For the nine months ended Oct. 8, the company had income of $38 million, up significantly from $7 million during the same period of the previous year. Revenue for the nine months was $5,688 million, up 7% from $5,336 million.

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