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Ahead of the Bell: Dole Food

NEW YORK (AP) -- Dole plunged more than 8 percent in premarket trading Wednesday after the company fell short of expectations for its fourth quarter, citing lower banana prices in North America.

Late Tuesday Dole Food reported an adjusted loss from continuing operations of 59 cents per share for the period ended Dec. 29. Its revenue fell 8 percent to $888 million from $962 million.

That's worse than the loss of 1 cent per share, and revenue of $1.3 billion, that Wall Street had been looking for, according to a poll by FactSet.

Earnings were also weighed down by a charge of 37 cents per share related to the $1.69 billion sale of its global packaged foods and Asia fresh businesses to Japanese trading company Itochu Corp.

"Fiscal 2012 results for both Dole's continuing operations and its discontinued operations were lower compared to 2011 mainly due to banana market conditions and non-recurring charges for Itochu transaction related costs, provisions for certain previously-disclosed legal-related matters, and charges related to Typhoon Bopha in Asia," said C. Michael Carter, Dole's president and chief operating officer. "The combined revenue of Dole's discontinued operations being sold represented approximately 38 percent of Dole's revenues, at $2.6 billion in 2012."

Dole Food Co.'s stock dropped 98 cents to $10.75 before the market open.