Money set aside for a fine in a European antitrust case held Dole Food Co. adjusted earnings in the first quarter to $34 million, down from $44 million a year ago.
Earnings would have been $68 million if not for the $34 million provision, according to a news release. In March the European Union General Court upheld a fine of 45.6 million euros in the case, which alleged Dole Fresh Fruit Europe OHG and other banana importers in Germany exchanged anticompetitive information a decade ago.
“Dole’s first quarter performance is in line with our full-year expectations for 2013, at the low end of the guidance range of $150 to $170 million,” C. Michael Carter, president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.
Earnings in fresh fruit and fresh vegetables were up over last year. But Dole tempered its outlook for the second quarter and full year.
“This volatility is especially pronounced in our legacy strawberry business, where we expect earnings to be down by $15 to $20 million in the first half of 2013 compared to 2012,” Carter said in the release.
He cited extremes of heat and cold in California strawberry growing regions.
For the full year, lower earnings in bananas and berries are expected to hurt profits.
“The impact of higher expected volumes in these product lines is more than offset by expected lower prices and higher costs,” Carter said.
The quarter ended March 23. On April 1, Dole completed a $1.68 billion sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh businesses to Itochu Corp. They were reported as discontinued operations. Dole retains fresh vegetables and fresh fruit businesses.
“The timeliness of the cash proceeds from this large valuation transaction enabled us to take advantage of optimal credit market conditions, resulting in a more efficient, much lower-cost new capital structure,” Carter said.
That structure consists of a $675 million term loan and a $180 million revolving credit line.