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Dole earnings beat outlook

By   /   Thursday, March 15th, 2012  /   Comments Off on Dole earnings beat outlook

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Fruit producer Dole Food Co. reported an adjusted loss of $2 million, or 2 cents per share, from continuing operations, beating the 12-cent loss predicted by analysts on average. The recent loss compares to a $31 million, or 35 cent per-share, loss a year earlier.

CEO David DeLorenzo said strong sales and a cost-reduction program started two years ago boosted earnings. “Going forward, we continue to be encouraged by consumer acceptance of our new product introductions as well as the strength of our core products,” he said in an earnings release.

Dole also announced that it’s selling its distribution company in Germany, although it didn’t say to whom, for how much or when the deal would close. “This pending sale is in line with our continuing plan to divest non-core assets, and will further our goal to reduce debt and improve operating margins,” DoLorenzo said in the statement.

Comparable income from continuing operations for the full year 2011 was $121 million or $1.38 per share, compared to $40 million or 46 cents per share, a year earlier, Dole said.

Total sales of its products jumped 5 percent to $7.2 billion in 2011, it said. Fresh fruit sales were up 5 percent primarily due to higher prices for bananas around the world and higher volumes of bananas sold in North American and Asia, it said. Favorable currency rates in Europe and Japan also helped.

Packaged food revenues jumped 7 percent on higher volume. Fresh vegetable sales were up 2 percent on slightly higher prices for packaged salads. Higher sales of berries were due to Dole’s fourth-quarter purchase of SunnyRidge, the company said.

Dole shares traded down 3 cents to $9.94 after the after-hours earnings announcement.

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