lift Doles net
Core businesses alsoBy Russ Lynch
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An insurance payment of $11.7 million from damage caused last year by Hurricane Mitch boosted Dole Food Co.'s first-quarter earnings 65.4 percent.
The company today reported net income of $37.7 million, or 65 cents a share, compared with $22.8 million, or 37 cents a share, in 1998's first quarter.
Earnings were up even before the insurance payout related to the devastation of 30,000 acres of Dole's bananas and other crops in Central America in October. Dole said its first-quarter net would have been $30.1 million, or 52 cents a share, without the insurance payment, a 32 percent increase that matched Wall Street expectations.
David H. Murdock, chairman and chief executive, said Dole's core businesses did well in the latest quarter, helped by recently acquired operations, although the improvement was countered somewhat by downturns in a beverage business in Honduras and in the company's California almond business. Dole's total revenues for the quarter, $1.19 billion, were up 17.8 percent from $1.01 billion a year earlier. The company repurchased 2.3 million of its shares in the quarter.
Now based in Westlake Village, Calif., the company was founded in Hawaii in the mid-1800s and still has significant agricultural land holdings in the islands. Dole, with annual revenues of more than $4 billion, is the world's largest grower and seller of fresh fruit, vegetables and flowers.