Dole is selling its fresh vegetables division to an affiliate of Fresh Express, a unit of Chiquita Brands International.
The definitive agreement is for approximately $293 million, subject to “certain adjustments”.
With revenue of $1.28 billion in the 2021 financial year, Dole’s fresh vegetables division encompasses processing operations for whole produce, such as lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, sprouts and radishes. In addition, the business produces salad and meal kits.
Fresh Express, a subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings, also offers a range of salad mixes and kits.
“We are excited about the combination with Dole’s fresh vegetables division,” said Chiquita Holdings chairman, Jose Luis Cutrale Jr.
“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.”
Cutrale added: “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”.
Employing more than 3,000 people, Dole’s fresh vegetables division has agricultural operations and four processing plants located across the US.
Carl McCann, executive chairman of Dole, said: “Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies and food safety”.
He added: “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”.
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