Dole plc to sell Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division
Dole plc has agreed to sell Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division to an affiliate of Fresh Express Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Ltd.
Gross proceeds of the sale are expected to total approximately $293 million in cash, according to a news release. Net proceeds are expected to be used primarily for debt reduction of Dole.
“We are pleased to announce the sale of our Fresh Vegetables Division. Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies, and food safety,” Carl McCann, Dole pls executive chairman, said in the release. “We would like to thank the dedicated employees of this business for their valuable contributions over the years.
“We believe the sale of this division will strengthen our financial position and increase the Group’s focus on and investments in our core activities.”
The Fresh Vegetables Division comprises operations related to the processing and sale of whole produce such as iceberg, romaine, leaf lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, asparagus, artichokes, green onions, sprouts, radishes, and cabbage, as well as salads and meal kits.
In the financial year ended Dec. 31, the division reported revenue of $1.28 billion. The business has four processing plants across the U.S. employing more than 3,000 people.
“We are excited about the combination with Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division,” Chiquita Holding Chair Jose Luis Cutrale Jr. said. “With this transaction, we want to combine our best practices across food safety, freshness of produce, mechanization, automation, and innovation to offer rapidly expanding choices of safer and healthier produce products to the consumer. This combination will ultimately help drive growth in the entire produce industry and support higher demand for our valued produce grower base in California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and across the entire USA.
“The combination of both businesses, when consummated, will allow us to continue to create the best products under the Fresh Express umbrella. The anticipated cost savings from this combination will help partially mitigate the recent period of inflationary pressures experienced throughout the produce, food and beverage sectors of the economy.”
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval.