The balance sheet is a mess. No doubting that. Management seems unfocused too. But I still think Dole will succeed in spite of those problems.
There are a lot of good things to like. Farmland being first and foremost from my perspective. It has been left behind in most commodity rallies but it's time is coming soon. The vertical integration of the food industry will be a huge boon in the future. Especially with the weaker dollar (inflation) and the (hopeful) Asian pick-up in demand for food. (The Honduras plantations could be a cause for some concern though.)
Second, the brand name works. Most people know it. Trust it. And it's global. The revenue is already twice their competitors so they are nicely entrenched at the top of the chain. The movement to healthier foods helps too.
Thirdly, when the balance sheet and management are so messy and known factors, it's priced into stock (to some degree.) Which means things can improve rapidly.
As fas as the debt and messy balance sheet. That's always going to be problem and will cause Dole to be very volatile. I wouldn't be shocked to see it sell-off to 8-10 in the near term, then if things in the industry go well, a move up to 20 or so. Then another big drop back. Then rally. And so on and on. If timed right, I expect Dole to be a great trading stock.
All in all, I prefer Fresh Del Monte to Dole in the industry mainly due to their cleaner balance sheet, but Dole has more upside if things go well. (More downside too if things go poorly.)