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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 SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT IN FIRST QUARTER 2002 EARNINGS

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California - April 18, 2002

Dole Food Company, Inc. (NYSE: DOL) Thursday announced that its first-quarter earnings from continuing operations were $56.3 million, or 99 cents per share, compared with earnings from continuing operations of $29.5 million, or 53 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2001.

Earnings before interest and taxes ("EBIT") improved significantly to $97.3 million for the first quarter of 2002 from $62.9 million for the first quarter of 2001. EBIT from operations in the company's fresh fruit segment increased due to the continuing trend of improved earnings in banana operations as a result of global cost cutting activities and a pricing recovery in Europe and Asia, partially offset by weaker foreign currency exchange rates for the yen and the euro as well as lower volumes sold into Europe and Asia. Earnings from operations in the company's fresh vegetables segment increased significantly due to very high commodity vegetables pricing, primarily resulting from an industry-wide supply shortage of lettuce. Operating results from the company's packaged foods segment increased due to lower production costs and higher sales volumes for packaged pineapple products in addition to the continued success of Dole's FRUIT BOWLS ® and FRUIT-N-GEL BOWLS® products. EBIT in the company's fresh-cut flowers segment was essentialy flat as cost reduction programs provided savings that offset lower pricing and volumes.

Lawrence A. Kern, president and chief operating officer, stated: "We are exceptionally pleased with the solid operating results for the quarter. Our core businesses are benefiting from more stable markets and are yielding enhanced profitability from our cost savings and efficiency improvement programs." 

Revenues for the first quarter of 2002 totaled $1.06 billion compared with revenues of $1.03 billion for the same quarter of 2001. Cash flow from operations (EBITDA) in the first quarter of 2002 totaled $119.2 million compared with $91.5 million for the same quarter of 2001. Interest expense decreased 21% from $18.5 million for the first quarter of 2001 to $14.5 million for the first quarter of 2002 mainly due to lower levels of debt.

Click here to download 2002 first quarter 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. (EDT), 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 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 "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; international conflict; quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions; and the ability of the company and its European customers and suppliers to complete euro conversion efforts. 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.