DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. COMMENTS ON WEST COAST LABOR DISPUTE
Westlake Village, California - October 08, 2002
Commenting on the ongoing labor dispute between the Pacific Maritime Association and the ILWU, Dole (NYSE: DOL) stated today that the continued West Coast port closures are adversely impacting its ability to supply bananas, fresh fruit, vegetables and other Dole products to its customers and consumers. As a result of the port closures, Dole has had to divert loaded vessels bound for Los Angeles to alternative ports in Mexico. The diversion of its ships has resulted in increased shipping, transportation and labor costs, supply chain disruptions and, in some instances, the inability of Dole to supply its products to customers and consumers throughout North America. In addition, multiple containers of California-grown fresh vegetables currently awaiting shipment at the port of Oakland may never reach Dole's overseas customers.
In an effort to minimize the economic impact to Dole and its customers of the West Coast labor dispute, on Thursday, October 3, 2002, Dole filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Los Angeles seeking the release of cargo and equipment detained at the Los Angeles port since the lockout. Dole estimated in court filings that approximately 8.4 million pounds of bananas and other perishable commodities were at risk of spoilage at the Los Angeles port due to the ongoing labor dispute. In addition, fresh fruit and vegetables throughout Dole's supply chain may be lost due to ongoing disruptions. This afternoon the Federal District Court denied Dole's motion for immediate injunctive relief, concluding "that while Dole certainly presented a showing of irreparable injury and that Dole has a strong interest in obtaining relief" the court lacked jurisdiction to grant the requested preliminary injunction.
As of today, Dole had identified $2.4 million in estimated losses due to spoilage, increased shipping and transportation costs and lost sales. These losses are expected to continue at these rates until the West Coast ports are fully operational.
Lawrence A. Kern, president and chief operating officer, said: "Dole is sensitive to the concerns of the parties involved in the labor dispute, but given its obligations to its customers and loyal consumers, felt it had no alternative but to use every avenue at its disposal to minimize further supply chain disruption and lost revenues to all affected parties. Dole continues to be hopeful that the parties will be able to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement as quickly as possible. Dole was disappointed to learn today that the Court had denied its request for injunctive relief." Mr. Kern went on to say that, "Dole continues its efforts to supply its customers and consumers with the highest quality fresh and packaged produce."
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2001 revenues of $4.5 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and markets a growing line of packaged foods.
This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "may," "will," "expects," "believes" and similar expressions. 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; electrical power supply and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.