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Founded in Hawaii in 1851, Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2010 revenues of $6.9 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research. The Company does business in more than 90 countries and employs, on average, 36,000 full-time, regular employees and 23,000 full-time seasonal or temporary employees, worldwide.
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DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. ANNOUNCES FOURTH QUARTER AND FULL YEAR 2001 RESULTS

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California - January 31, 2002

Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOL) Thursday announced that its fourth-quarter net income from continuing operations was $4.1 million, or 7 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $18.2 million, or 32 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2000, before a special item. This resulted in full year 2001 net income from continuing operations, before special items, of $79.4 million, or $1.41 per share, which reflects an improvement in earnings per share of approximately 90% as compared to full year 2000 net income from continuing operations, before special items, of $41.3 million, or 74 cents per share. 

On November 28, 2001, Dole divested of its Honduran Beverage operations. In connection with this divestiture, operating results of this business have been accounted for as a discontinued operation. Fourth-quarter net income from discontinued operations, before the net gain on sale of these operations of $168.6 million, was $0.8 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with net income of $10.9 million, or 19 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2000. Full year 2001 net income from discontinued operations, before the net gain on sale of these operations, was $18.9 million, or 34 cents per share as compared to full year 2000 net income from discontinued operations of $31.6 million, or 56 cents per share. 

Combined net income from continuing and discontinued operations for the fourth quarter of 2001 was $4.8 million, or 8 cents per share as compared to a net loss of $7.4 million, or 13 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2000, which excludes a minor portion of the gain on sale of the company's citrus assets. 

Excluding special charges and gains, combined net income from continuing and discontinued operations for 2001 was $98.3 million, or $1.75 per share as compared to net income of $72.9 million, or $1.30 per share for 2000. 

For the fourth quarter of 2001, earnings before interest and taxes ("EBIT") in the company's fresh fruit segment increased due to the continuation of improved earnings in its banana operations largely as a result of significant cost-cutting activities, increased volumes and pricing in North America and favorable pricing in Europe. Improved local pricing for bananas in Asia was more than offset by the continued decline of the Yen to U.S. dollar exchange rate. Overall year-over-year quarterly earnings in the fresh vegetables segment were relatively flat, although within that segment, lower commodity pricing was offset by cost savings and continued growth in packaged salads revenues. EBIT in the processed foods segment continued to increase due to lower production costs achieved by the company's Asian sourcing locations and sizeable growth (187%) in revenues of FRUIT BOWLS® and FRUIT-N-GEL BOWLS, which were partially offset by marketing costs primarily associated with new product introductions. Earnings in the fresh-cut flowers segment were lower due to reduced sales volumes.

Revenue from continuing operations for the fourth quarter of 2001 totaled $983 million compared with revenue from continuing operations of $1.0 billion for the same quarter of last year. EBITDA from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of 2001 totaled $40.2 million compared with $23.3 million for the same quarter of 2000. 

On a full year basis, revenue from continuing operations for 2001 was relatively flat at $4.5 billion as compared to 2000. EBITDA from continuing operations in 2001 totaled $305.4 million compared with $266.1 million for 2000. 

Interest expense, after the necessary allocation to discontinued operations, decreased significantly to $14.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2001 from $20.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2000. Likewise, on a full year basis, interest expense, after the necessary allocation to discontinued operations, decreased significantly to $70.7 million for 2001 compared to $90.5 million for 2000. The decreases are due to lower average debt levels combined with lower interest rates. 

Total full year net income which includes business reconfiguration charges (totaling $132.7 million, pre-tax) and the gains on disposition of the Honduran Beverage business and sale of certain marketable securities (totaling $8.2 million, pre-tax) was $150.4 million for 2001 versus $67.7 million for 2000, which included Hurricane Mitch net insurance proceeds, a business downsizing charge and a gain on sale of the company's citrus assets. For the fourth quarter of 2001, total net income, including the gain on disposal of the Honduran Beverage business was $173.5 million as compared to a net loss of $6.5 million in 2000, which included a minor portion of the gain on sale of the company's citrus assets. 

Looking forward to 2002, management anticipates that full year earnings per share should reflect significant improvement. Earnings in the banana business are expected to continue increasing in 2002 as a result of profit improvement initiatives currently underway. Dole's fresh-cut salads business is projected to maintain its profitability in 2002, but overall earnings in the fresh vegetables segment are anticipated to be somewhat lower than 2001 based on expectations of a continued return to more normal commodity vegetables pricing. In Dole's processed foods business, volume growth from additional new product introductions is anticipated to result in improved earnings. In Dole's fresh-cut flowers segment, enhanced distribution activities are expected from the Miami based operations, which were recently relocated into a new, combined facility. 

Lawrence A. Kern, president and chief operating officer, stated: "We are pleased to have achieved a substantial portion of our goal to divest of non-core assets through the successful disposition of our Honduran Beverage operations, allowing us to further focus on building our core activities. The operating performance of our primary businesses has greatly improved and we are hopeful that ongoing efficiency and savings programs as well as increased marketing efforts will result in better earnings from our fresh-cut flowers segment." 

Click here to download 2001 fourth quarter and full year earnings in Adobe Acrobat (*pdf) format. 

Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2001 revenues of $4.5 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and markets a growing line of packaged foods. 

The company will host an earnings conference call today at 1 p.m. (EST), featuring remarks by Lawrence A. Kern, president and chief operating officer, and Kenneth J. Kay, vice president and chief financial officer. The conference call will be webcast live and may be accessed on the company's website at www.dole.com and at CCBN's individual investor center at www.companyboardroom.com. Institutional investors can access the call via CCBN's password protected event management site at www.streetevents.com. 

This release contains forward-looking statements based on current expectations that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Forward looking statements, which are based on management's current expectations, are generally identifiable by the use of terms such as "anticipates," "shall," "expects," "projects," "will" and similar expressions. The potential risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied herein include weather-related phenomena; market responses to industry volume pressures; product and raw materials supplies and pricing; electrical power supply and pricing: changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises in developing countries; quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions; and international conflict. Further information on the factors that could affect Dole's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K.