Lower profits from bananas and fresh pineapples hit Dole Food Co.’s earnings in the company’s last financial year, the US firm has revealed.

Dole yesterday (14 March) booked a net loss of US$30m for the year to 1 January, compared to net income of $88m in its previous fiscal year.

The company’s EBIT stood at $144m, against $314m a year earlier; its adjusted EBITDA reached $320m compared to $417m the year before.

EBIT from Dole’s fresh vegetables and packaged food divisions rose but EBIT from fresh fruit – its largest business – more than halved, falling from $305m to $122m.

The company’s top line improved during the year, inching up from $6.78bn to $6.89bn.

Dole president and CEO David DeLorenzo said the company was “quite pleased” with the performance of its fresh vegetables and packaged food businesses. Packaged food, he said, had “another record year”.

However, he added: “Of course, we were not immune to the challenges that confronted the entire banana industry last year, when extremely adverse weather conditions disrupted production, increasing fruit costs in Latin America. In addition, the temporary closure of the Iranian market drove down banana pricing in all Asian markets, including those in which Dole sells.”

In the fourth quarter of the year, Dole made a net loss of $37m, compared to net income of $16m a year earlier. Adjusted EBITDA hit $21m, down from $68m. Revenues were higher, climbing from $1.53bn to $1.56bn.

DeLorenzo said a “difficult” fourth quarter was “behind” Dole. He added: “With market prices improving, we are focused on a strong recovery in 2011.”

Click here for the full statement from Dole.