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Dole Food Posts Q4 Loss - Update

Fruits and vegetable producer Dole Food Co. Inc. (DOLE), Tuesday reported a loss for the fourth quarter from a profit last year, hurt mainly by costs related to divestiture of two businesses and lower revenues as a consequence. Following the news, shares of Dole slipped a near five percent in after-hours trade on the Nasdaq..

Westlake Village, California-based Dole Foods reported a loss of $210 million for the fourth quarter, compared to a profit of $4 million last year.

Last September, Dole Food agreed to sell its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to Japanese trading company Itochu Corp. (ITOCY) for $1.69 billion in cash. The consummation of the sale will be on April 1, 2013.

Following the sale, Dole will have two lines of businesses classified as continuing operations, while the worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh are accounted as discontinued operations.

Fourth-quarter loss from continuing operations was $88 million or $0.99 per share, compared to income from continuing operations of $6 million or $0.06 per share last year.

The latest quarter results include Itochu transaction related costs of $40 million.

Comparable loss was $52 million or $0.59 per share, compared to comparable income of $4 million or $0.05 per share last year.

On average, four analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of $0.02 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Chief Operating Officer Michael Carter said, "Fiscal 2012 results for both Dole's continuing operations and its discontinued operations were lower compared to 2011 mainly due to banana market conditions and non-recurring charges for ITOCHU transaction related costs, provisions for certain previously-disclosed legal-related matters, and charges related to Typhoon Bopha in Asia."

Dole's revenues from continuing operations dropped to $888 million from $962 million last year.

Four analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $1.30 billion for the quarter.

DOLE closed Tuesday's trading at $11.73, up $0.07 or 0.60%. The stock slipped $0.43 or 4.52% in after hours.

by RTT Staff Writer

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