Dole to sell Fresh Vegetable Division to Chiquita
Dole plc has announced a definitive agreement to sell Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division to an affiliate of Fresh Express Incorporated, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited, for gross proceeds of approximately US$293 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.
The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the parties expect that the transaction will close after approval is obtained.
Dole's 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 that ended on Dec. 31, 2021, the Fresh Vegetables Division reported revenue of US$1.28 billion.
“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," said Carl McCann, Executive Chairman of Dole plc.
He thanked the company's "dedicated employees" for their valuable contributions over the years.
The business has agricultural operations and four processing plants across the United States and employs more than 3,000 people.
"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,” McCann added.
Chiquita Holdings comments
Jose Luis Cutrale Jr., Chairman of Chiquita Holdings’ thanked Dole plc's management team for their collaboration during the process.
"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," said Cutrale. "We aim to bring an improved value proposition to the consumer while allowing us to better manage the shortage of agricultural and manufacturing labor, supply chain challenges, and water issues. At the same time, we are striving to constantly reduce the carbon footprint of our products."
"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," added the Chairman.
Net proceeds from the sale are currently expected to be used primarily for the debt reduction of Dole.