DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC. ANNOUNCES DEBT REDUCTION AND ASSET SALE TRANSACTIONS AS OF END OF FIRST QUARTER 2009
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California - April 01, 2009
Dole Food Company, Inc. today announced progress in completing asset sales and reducing its debt level. On March 24, 2009, Dole closed the previously announced sale of certain real estate in California. Dole received net cash proceeds of approximately $83 million from asset sale transactions in its first fiscal quarter of 2009, which brought net cash proceeds from asset sale transactions in the four fiscal quarters ended March 28, 2009 to approximately $300 million.
As a result of these asset sales and improved cash flow from operations, Dole reduced its total debt to approximately $2.11 billion as of March 28, 2009, as compared to approximately $2.48 billion as of March 22, 2008, the end of last year's first fiscal quarter. This constitutes a debt reduction of approximately $370 million, or 15%, during the last twelve months.
"Dole is pleased to be moving forward with debt reduction and asset sales, continuing to execute on our previously announced plan to sell assets and reduce our debt," said David A. DeLorenzo, President and CEO of Dole. Dole, with 2008 net revenues of $7.6 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.
This release contains "forward-looking statements," within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 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 "may," "will," "expects," "believes," "intends," "anticipates" 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; energy supply and pricing; changes in interest and currency exchange rates; economic crises and security risks in developing countries; international conflict; and quotas, tariffs and other governmental actions. 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.