Dole Food Company, Inc. yesterday announced progress in completing asset sales and reducing its debt level.

On March 24, 2009, Dole closed the previously announced sale of certain real estate in California. Dole received net cash proceeds of about $83 million from asset sale transactions in its first fiscal quarter of 2009, which brought net cash proceeds from asset sale transactions in the four fiscal quarters ended March 28, 2009 to about $300 million.

As a result of these asset sales and improved cash flow from operations, Dole reduced its total debt to about $2.11 billion as of March 28, 2009, as compared to about $2.48 billion as of March 22, 2008, the end of last year’s first fiscal quarter. This constitutes a debt reduction of approximately $370 million, or 15 percent, during the last twelve months.

Dole, with 2008 net revenues of $7.6 billion, is the world’s largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables, and is the leading producer of organic bananas. Dole markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research.

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