August 4, 2005

Dole to Build Fresh-Vegetable Processing Plant in North Carolina

Mike Easley, governor of North Carolina, announced Aug. 2 that Bud Antle, an indirect subsidiary of Dole Food Company, would invest $54 million to build and equip a processing plant for vegetables in Gaston County, creating 525 jobs within three years and a total of 900 jobs by 2016.

”Dole’s decision to locate in Gaston County is a real win for the county and the community, because it means hundreds of jobs for hundreds of hard-working North Carolina families at a time when they need them,” Easley said. “We viewed this as an opportunity to replace some of the textile jobs foreign trade policies continue to export overseas.”

”Locating the plant in Gaston County will expand Dole’s distribution network and facilitate delivery of its salad products to its Southern and East Coast customers,” said David Murdock, Dole’s chairman and chief executive officer. “The location, the incentives and potential workforce were all strong factors in making the decision to locate in North Carolina. I look forward to working with state and local officials to bring this project to fruition.”

Dole also is considering putting a frozen fruit processing plant in North Carolina and has plans to increase the acquisition of vegetable crops and berry products for existing plants, as well as the new plants.

Dole sells more than 200 products, including fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, packaged and frozen food, and fresh-cut flowers. The company’s 2004 revenues exceeded $5 billion. It has more than 64,000 workers in 90 countries.

This is the company’s first facility in North Carolina. The new jobs will be mainly production workers who will take fresh vegetables and process them into bagged products for distribution in the Southern and Eastern United States. The average weekly wage will be $450 a week and benefits include health and dental as well as employee training.

Murdock, who took over Dole in 2003, said North Carolina farmers may benefit by supplying some of the produce for the new processing plant, as well as for a potential frozen fruit plant.

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