• Dole launches strategic review 
  • Q1 net income surges 760% to $17.2m
  • Revenues down 4%

US produce giant Dole Food Co. is looking at potentially spinning off one or more of its businesses. 

The company yesterday (3 May) launched a "strategic review" of the business in a bid to "enhance shareholder value".

David DeLorenzo, president and CEO of Dole, said: "As part of this review, the alternatives we may consider include a full or partial separation of one or more of our businesses through a spin-off or other capital markets transaction, as well as other alternatives that will enhance shareholder value. We are committed to enhancing shareholder value and this review is a company priority.

Dole listed 41% of the company on the New York stock exchange in 2009. Chairman David Murdock still owns 58.1% of the company.

The announcement of the review came as Dole reported mixed first-quarter results.

Net income for the quarter ended 24 March reached $17.2m, compared to $2m the year before. However, operating income slumped 41.5% to $46.4m.

"Our first-quarter results were impacted by extraordinarily low prices in all of our major commodity vegetables," said David DeLorenzo, Dole's president and CEO.

Revenues declined 4% to $1.6bn. Excluding revenues of Dole Spain, which was sold during the fourth quarter of 2011, sales decreased 1%. Fresh fruit revenues dropped 5.7% to $1.12bn, primarily as a result of lower sales in the European ripening and distribution business and lower pricing for bananas sold in North America.

Fresh vegetables revenues increased 2% to $235.9m, primarily due to higher sales of fresh berries and packaged salads partially offset by lower pricing for fresh-packed vegetables.

Packaged foods revenues rose 1% to $266.9m, primarily due to higher sales of frozen fruit and healthy snacks in North America and improved pricing worldwide, partially offset by lower worldwide volumes of packaged fruit.

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