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CALIFORNIA / News and Insight on Business in the
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Dole Says Profit Will Slip on Banana Prices

October 23, 1998|Bloomberg News

Dole Food Co. warned that third-quarter earnings will decline 35%, well below expectations, because banana prices fell amid the collapse of Russian demand and a bumper crop this year. Dole, the world's largest marketer of fresh fruit, was expected to earn 47 cents a share, up from 40 cents a year ago, according to a survey of analysts by First Call Corp. Dole also warned 1998 results will be 20% less than a year ago. Russian banana consumption has dropped off because of the country's economic problems, reducing the ability of importers to purchase the fruit. The company sells about 5% of its fruit to Russia. The Westlake Village-based company said El Nino, which resulted in heavy rainfall in certain areas of the globe and extreme dryness in others, led to a bumper crop of bananas, causing prices to fall. Dole released the earnings warning after the close of markets. Its shares fell 6 cents to close at $34.63 on the New York Stock Exchange. The warning was issued after the close of trading.

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