Produce giant Dole Food Co. has booked smaller third-quarter losses on the back of higher sales of fresh vegetables.

Dole posted a net loss of US$49m for the three months to 9 October, down from $53m a year earlier.

Revenue was up 2.6% at US$1.99bn thanks to a 9% increase in vegetable sales. Fruit sales were flat.

President and CEO David DeLorenzo said Dole had reported “strong financial results” for the quarter and pointed to a 19% rise in adjusted EBITDA to $101m.

DeLorenzo said conditions in its fruit business had been “challenging” but added: “The strong turnaround in our fresh vegetables segment continued during the third quarter, with adjusted EBITDA growing by $10m on higher pricing and volumes. Our packaged foods segment also continued to perform well, with successful new product introductions and year-to-date results ahead of last year.”

DeLorenzo also detailed the financial impact of Dole’s plans to restructure its European unit, which just-food reported last month.

“During the quarter we began [the] implementation of our plans to downsize and restructure our European banana operations. These one-time restructuring actions are expected to result in direct savings of approximately $34m in 2011,” the Dole boss said yesterday (22 November).

“We believe our restructuring efforts will reduce our costs, improve our profitability and generally better align our operations with the current European market.”