DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. ANNOUNCES IMPROVED FOURTH QUARTER EARNINGS
Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOL) Friday reported fourth-quarter net income from ongoing operations of $2.1 million, or 4 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $7.8 million, or 13 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 1998. Additionally, during the quarter the company received $9.2 million of insurance proceeds, net of rehabilitation expenses, related to last year's Hurricane Mitch. Also in the fourth quarter of 1999, the company recorded a charge of $48.5 million ($39.0 million, net of tax) related to the downsizing of businesses, primarily in its Fresh Fruit segment, as well as the early retirement of certain employees. In the fourth quarter of 1998, the company reported charges of $100 million related to damage sustained from Hurricane Mitch and $20 million primarily related to a crop freeze that impacted the company's California citrus business. Including net insurance proceeds and special charges, the company reported a net loss of $28.5 million, or $0.51 per
The increase in fourth-quarter net income from ongoing operations was largely attributable to improved earnings in the Fresh Fruit and Processed Foods segments, partially offset by continued consolidation costs and lower shipped volumes in the Fresh-cut Flowers segment. Higher earnings in the Fresh Fruit segment were primarily due to an improvement in the banana business as well as the North American fresh fruit business, which had suffered from adverse weather in the fourth quarter of 1998. Earnings in the banana business increased as a result of higher banana volumes sold to the Asian market and reduced banana volumes shipped to secondary markets in Eastern Europe, which was partially offset by continued weak pricing in the primary European Union markets. Processed Foods earnings increased as a result of steady pricing on higher volumes of traditional and new processed pineapple products and higher volumes and pricing in the Honduran beverage business, as that country continued
Cash flow from ongoing operations (EBITDA) in the fourth quarter of 1999 totaled $55.7 million compared with $42.7 million for the same quarter in 1998. Revenue for the fourth quarter of 1999 totaled $1.1 billion, an increase of approximately 10% from revenue of $1.0 billion for the same quarter of last year.
Interest expense increased to $21.8 million for the fourth quarter of 1999 from $18.3 million for the fourth quarter of 1998 primarily due to higher average debt levels resulting from capital expenditures and repurchases of common stock.
On a full-year basis, revenue for 1999 increased to $5.1 billion from $4.4 billion for 1998. Net income including Hurricane Mitch net insurance proceeds and special charges was $48.5 million for 1999 versus $12.1 million for the prior year. Cash flow from ongoing operations (EBITDA) in1999 totaled $307.6 million compared with $328.3 million for 1998.
Click here to download 1999 fourth quarter earnings in Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) format.
David H. Murdock, chairman and chief executive officer, commented: "While 1999 was a year of difficult recovery and expense for Dole, we are encouraged by the improved performance of our businesses in the fourth quarter, especially in the Fresh Fruit and Processed Foods segments. We look forward to further improvements in earnings and cash flow in 2000 and beyond, as we continue our current program of cost reductions while offering a growing variety of innovative, high-quality products to consumers."
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 1999 revenues of $5.1 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and markets a growing line of packaged foods.
This release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises in developing countries; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.