Dole Food Company Inc announced significant improvement in financial and operating results for the fiscal third quarter ended October 10, 2009.
For the third quarter, the company reported adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) of $85 million compared with $71 million in 2008, a gain of 18%. US operating income for the third quarter was $44 million, versus $35 million in 2008, an increase of 28%. Third quarter US loss from continuing operations of $53 million compared with $2 million in 2008 includes significant unrealized non-cash foreign exchange related gains and losses, as well as book gains on asset sales.
Third quarter 2009 revenues fell 14% to $1.9 billion, mainly due to the fourth quarter 2008 sale of the JP Fresh and Dole France businesses. Revenues also dropped in the remaining distribution businesses due to unfavorable foreign exchange conversions and reduced economic activity by many European supermarkets these distribution centers service.
Gross profit margin increased from 8.1% for the third quarter of 2008 to 9.1% for the third quarter of 2009. Gross profit margin includes net unrealized non-cash losses on foreign currency and fuel hedges of $12 million. Excluding these items, gross profit margin rose from 7.6% for the third quarter of 2008 to 9.8% for the third quarter of 2009.
“We are extremely pleased with the significant positive developments for our company, including improvements in our operations, substantial reduction in debt, and another significant legal victory,” said David DeLorenzo, chief executive officer. “Adjusted EBITDA increased 18% in the quarter to $85 million, which when combined with the strong performance in the first half, resulted in the generation of $283 million of positive cash flow from operations over the past three quarters. Cash flow from operations, asset sales and the IPO (initial public offering) have allowed Dole to reduce net debt by over $880 million or 36% over the past six quarters. Dole’s current leverage ratio of net debt to adjusted EBITDA is 3.3 times.”