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Smaller Dole reports Q4 loss

By   /   Tuesday, March 12th, 2013  /   Comments Off on Smaller Dole reports Q4 loss

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A much-smaller Dole Food Co. reported a fourth-quarter loss and lower profits in 2012.

The Westlake Village-based produce giant sold its worldwide packaged foods and Asian fresh foods business to Itochu Corp. out of Japan for $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year.

With its packaged-foods business sold, the new Dole has a much smaller footprint as a commodity produce company focused on fresh fruits and vegetables.

The comparable loss from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $52 million, or 59 cents per share, compared to $4 million, or 5 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2011, Dole said.

For the full year, comparable profits from continuing operations was $44 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to $122 million, or $1.37 per share, in 2011.

Dole blamed the lower profitability on banana market conditions, expenses related to the Itochu deal and charges related to the Typhoon Bopha storm in Asia at the end of the year.

“The combined revenue of Dole’s discontinued operations being sold represented approximately 38 percent of Dole’s revenues, at $2.6 billion in 2012,” Dole President and Chief Operating Officer C. Michael Carter said in an earnings release. “The new Dole will continue as an international commodity produce company with a smaller footprint, retaining its entire North American fresh vegetables business as well as its fresh fruit businesses in North America, Latin America, Europe and Africa, which together generated $4.2 billion in revenues in fiscal 2012.”

Dole said 2013 adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization will likely be “at the low end” of the $150 million to $170 million guidance range it previously issued “with the continuing declining trend in fresh fruit performance principally due to banana market conditions.”

Carter said the banana market “remains challenging,” but that the company is “optimistic that this transformative sale transaction will leave the new Dole with the financial and operational flexibility to grow in this competitive environment.”

Shares of Dole slid more than 6.6 percent to $10.95 in after-hours trading following the earnings report.

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