Dole Food Co., Inc. Reports Drop In Fourth Quarter And Full Year Earnings

Dole Food Co., Inc. announced financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year ended Jan. 1, 2011. For the fourth quarter, Dole reported adjusted EBITDA of $21 million ($29 million, excluding charges for restructuring and long-term receivables) compared to $68 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. For the full year, Dole reported Adjusted EBITDA of $320 million ($353 million, excluding charges for restructuring and long-term receivables) compared to $417 million in 2009. Dole reported a GAAP loss from continuing operations for fiscal year 2010 of $34 million or ($0.39) per share. Comparable Income from continuing operations for fiscal year 2010 was $62 million, compared to $67 million in 2009.

David A. DeLorenzo, Dole's president and CEO said in a prepared statement: "We are quite pleased with the performance of our fresh vegetables and packaged foods segments in 2010. 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 fiscal 2010, revenues increased 2 percent to $6.9 billion. The increase was primarily due to higher worldwide volumes in packaged foods and higher North America packaged salad sales in fresh vegetables. Fresh fruit sales increased slightly as higher sales in the European ripening and distribution business were partially offset by lower banana volumes in North America and Europe. In addition, revenues were impacted by divestitures of Latin America box plants in 2009.

For fiscal year 2010, Adjusted EBITDA of $320 million included $33 million of charges related to restructuring and long-term receivables. The decrease in Adjusted EBITDA was primarily due to lower fresh fruit earnings, which decreased as a result of lower banana and fresh pineapple earnings worldwide as well as lower earnings in the European ripening and distribution business. These factors were partially offset by a $27.3 million benefit from an arbitration settlement involving faulty manufactured containers sold to Dole. Fresh vegetables performance improved by $25 million due to better pricing, favorable product mix, and lower costs in packaged salads. Packaged salads earnings also benefited from a $5.3 million settlement with a fresh vegetables supplier, which was recorded during the fourth quarter. Packaged foods segment results were comparable to prior year as better earnings in the frozen fruit operations and Europe were offset by lower results in North America and Asia.

Earnings in the fourth quarter of 2010 were impacted by lower earnings in fresh fruit due to higher costs in Latin America and lower pricing in Asia bananas as compared to 2009. Fresh vegetables earnings in the fourth quarter of 2010 benefited from improved results in packaged salads, which were partially offset by lower earnings in fresh-packed vegetables, which had realized record prices in the fourth quarter of 2009. A favorable settlement with a fresh vegetables supplier also benefited the fourth quarter of 2010. Packaged foods' earnings improved slightly compared to 2009, with improved performance in frozen fruit, offset by lower earnings in Asia and North America packaged fruit.

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