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Dole's Loss for Third Quarter Widens


Dole Food Co., the largest fruit and vegetable producer, said its third-quarter loss widened as restructuring costs increased.

The loss widened to $94.8 million, or $1.68 a share, from $7.4 million, or 13 cents, in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell to $1.33billion from $1.34billion, Dole said.

Dole had costs of $103.1 million, or $1.83 a share, for divesting its Pascual Hermanos vegetable business in Spain, the planned sale of other businesses in Europe and reducing banana and flower production in Latin America, said Ken Kay, chief financial officer. Excluding those expenses, Dole earned $8.3 million, or 15 cents a share.

The company still is negotiating to sell its beverage business in Honduras before the end of the year. The sale will reduce 2002 earnings by 22 cents, Dole said. Savings from this year's restructurings should counter most of the lost profit from the Honduran business, the company said.

Shares of Westlake Village-based Dole fell 93 cents Tuesday to $20 on the New York Stock Exchange. They have risen 22% this year.

Sales of Dole's fruit bowls rose, although the firm spent more to market the product. Profit from ongoing operations also was helped by higher banana prices in North America and in Europe.

Dole couldn't improve its fresh-cut flower business after sales fell in recent quarters. It is eliminating some of its less-profitable flower varieties and closing some farms, said Lawrence Kern, president and chief operating officer.

Dole also has identified most of the areas from which it hopes to get $200 million in savings by 2003.

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