Chiquita subsidiary acquires Dole’s Fresh Vegetables segment for approximately US$293m, subject to regulatory approval

Dole bagged salads Adobe

Dole has announced that certain of its subsidiaries have entered into a definitive agreement to its Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division to an affiliate of Fresh Express Incorporated, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited.

The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory approval, is for gross proceeds of approximately US$293m in cash, subject to certain adjustments.

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 ended 31 December 2021, the Fresh Vegetables Division reported revenue of US$1.28bn.

The business has agricultural operations and four processing plants across the United States and employs more than 3,000 people.

Net proceeds from the sale, which is expected to be closed after approval is obtained, are currently expected to be used primarily by Dole for debt reduction.

“We are pleased to announce the sale of our Fresh Vegetables Division,” confirmed Carl McCann, executive chairman of Dole. ”Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies, and food safety.

”We would like to thank the dedicated employees of this business for their valuable contributions over the years,” he continued. ”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.”

Jose Luis Cutrale Jr, Chiquita Holdings’ chairman, said that the group was excited about the combination with Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division.

”With this transaction, we want to combine our best practises across food safety, freshness of produce, mechanisation, automation, and innovation to offer rapidly expanding choices of safer and healthier produce products to the consumer,” he said.

”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,” Cutrale continued. ”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.

”We aim to bring an improved value proposition to the consumer while allowing us to better manage the shortage of agricultural and manufacturing labour, supply chain challenges and water issues,” he outlined. “At the same time, we are striving to constantly reduce the carbon footprint of our products.

”I want to especially thank the Dole plc management team for their professional collaboration in this process,” Cutrale added. ”We are very much looking forward to welcoming the dedicated Dole Fresh Vegetables Division team to the Chiquita Holdings family.”