Dole Food Returns To Profit In Q4

Dole Food Co. returned to profitability in its fiscal fourth quarter as the company reduced costs.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif. (AP) — Dole Food Co. returned to profitability in its fiscal fourth quarter as the company reduced costs.

Its adjusted results beat analysts' estimates and the fruit and vegetable company's stock surged 10 percent in morning trading Friday.

"The cost reduction programs set forth in the past two years have helped improve earnings despite increasing input costs and the strength of foreign currencies," David A. DeLorenzo, Dole's president and CEO, said in a statement.

He said the company agreed to sell its distribution company in Germany, part of a plan to divest non-core assets in hopes of reducing Dole's debt and improving its operating margins.

Dole Food reported late Thursday that its net income attributable to common shareholders came to $4.2 million, or 5 cents per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That compares with a net loss of $38.2 million, or 44 cents a share, in the same period a year earlier.

Stripping out refinancing charges and other items, Dole reported a loss from continuing operations of 2 cents per share for the latest quarter. Analysts expected a bigger loss of 13 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue dipped 1 percent to $1.54 billion from $1.56 billion, missing Wall Street's estimate of $1.57 billion estimate.

Dole Food's stock climbed $1.05, or 10.5 percent, to $11.02 in morning trading. It has traded in a 52-week range of $8.02 to $14.58.

For the year, Dole Food said net income attributable to its shareholders was $38.4 million, or 44 cents per share, versus a loss of $34.2 million, or 39 cents a share, a year earlier. Annual revenue rose 5 percent to $7.22 billion from $6.89 billion.

Fresh fruit sales climbed 5 percent mostly because of higher banana pricing and higher volumes of bananas sold in North America and Asia. Packaged foods revenue increased 7 percent on improved sales across all major product lines. Fresh vegetable revenue rose 2 percent on higher prices for packaged salad and increased sales of berries due to the SunnyRidge acquisition.

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