Dole Food sustains loss in year

by Staff
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WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CALIF. — Higher operating costs and lower banana prices led to fourth-quarter and full-year losses at Dole Food Company, Inc.

For the full-year ended Jan. 1, the company suffered a loss of $30 million, which compared with income of $88 million during the previous year. Net revenue for the year was $6,893 million, up 2% from $6,779 million during the previous year.

“We are quite pleased with the performance of our fresh vegetables and packaged foods segments in 2010,” said David A. DeLorenzo, president and chief executive officer. “Our North America fresh vegetables business performed strongly, more than doubling its EBITDA, driven by higher value-added pricing and volumes, and improved plant efficiencies. Our packaged foods division achieved another record year, while introducing successful new products, such as our new “no sugar added” Fruit Bowls in 100% juice and securing price increases to offset rising input costs. Of course, we were not immune to the challenges that confronted the entire banana industry last year, when extremely adverse weather conditions disrupted production, increasing fruit costs in Latin America. In addition, the temporary closure of the Iranian market drove down banana pricing in all Asian markets, including those in which Dole sells. With a difficult fourth quarter behind us, and with market prices improving, we are focused on a strong recovery in 2011.”

For the fourth quarter ended Jan. 1, the company had a loss of $37 million, which compared with income of $16 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Revenue for the quarter was $1,557 million, up 2% from $1,530 million during the same quarter of the previous year.

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