Fresh fruit revenues climbed 5% due to higher banana volumes sold in North America and Asia

Fresh fruit revenues climbed 5% due to higher banana volumes sold in North America and Asia

Produce giant Dole Food Co. has posted an underlying loss of US$15m for the third quarter of its financial year.

Dole's comparable loss from continuing operations for the third quarter to 8 October, compared to a profit of $3m a year earlier.

The US company's reported loss from continuing operations, which included refinanciang and restructuring costs, was $47m, down from $49m a year earlier. Operating income was $11m, compared to $66m last year.

Revenues, however, increased 5% to $2.09bn. Fresh fruit revenues climbed 5% due to higher banana volumes sold in North America and Asia.

Packaged foods revenues jumped 9% because higher prices offset rising costs. Fresh vegetables also increased slightly due to improved pricing for packaged salads, partially offset by lower iceberg lettuce sales. The company added that foreign currency exchange movements in Europe and Japan helped revenues. 

However, Dole CEO and president David DeLorenzo warned in August that the company's third-quarter results would be lower than a year earlier. Then, he said the company would be lapping a container settlement it received last year, while banana prices in Europe this summer had been lower. Announcing the third-quarter results on Thursday (17 November), he also reported "challenging" conditions in Europe during the period.

"Following very strong earnings in the first half of this year, we encountered a challenging market in Europe in the third quarter, as anticipated," he said.

"Given the positive results of the efficiency and cost measures we took last year, we are implementing additional restructuring initiatives focused on further improving our European profitability in 2012."

For the nine months ended 8 October, net income was $38m, up from $7m the year before. Operating income climbed 3% to $212m. Revenues reached $5.69bn for the period, up 6.6%.