IRELAND – American agricultural multinational corporation Dole Foods has agreed to merge with Ireland-based fresh produce distributor Total Produce in a deal that consolidates Dole Foods’ leadership position in the fresh produce market.
The new combined company operating under the Dole brand will be incorporated in Ireland, with its global headquarters in Dublin, but listed in the US.
It hopes to raise US$500-US$700 million by way of a public flotation in the US later this year, possibly as early as June.
The move will also see Total Produce de-list from the Euronext Dublin and the London Stock Exchange.
The merger comes two years after Total Produce acquired a 45% stake in Dole Food Company from the C&C shareholders for US$300 million.
This acquisition laid the groundwork for a collaborative partnership between the two companies .
The recent move marks the next step to simplify their existing structure by unifying Dole and Total Produce under common ownership.
Together, the combined company will have an estimated 2020 revenue of approximately US$9.7 billion and expects to have increased geographical footprint, brand strength and an expanded diverse product portfolio.
“The combined company will become the largest global player with over 170 years of history in fresh produce in companies, a highly diversified portfolio, resilient earnings and a strong balance sheet that positions us well for accelerated growth,” said Carl McCann, chairman of Total Produce.
Founded in 1851, Dole Food Company sells and distributes agricultural produce and is currently the largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the world, operating with 74,300 full-time and seasonal employees who are responsible for over 300 products in 90 countries.
Dole markets such food items as bananas, pineapples, grapes, strawberries, salads, and other fresh and frozen fruits and juices. It also owns a shipping line, Dole Ocean Cargo Express.
According to the transaction document, Total Produce’s strong presence across the European continent will complement Dole’s deep heritage in the Americas.
“I am delighted with this transaction, which combines two highly complementary premium businesses to create the global leader in fresh produce,” said Carl McCann.
The bigger entity would also be able to accelerate high-growth products, McCann said, while noting Dole fleet of ships could be leveraged by the new business.
The combined business would also have a more diversified mix of products, comprising 50 per cent bananas and 25 per cent fresh vegetables, he said.
Under the terms of the transaction, shareholders of Castle & Cooke – which own a 55% interest in Dole’s parent company (Dole Holdings) – will receive 17.5% of Dole plc shares; while Total Produce shareholders will receive 82.5% of Dole plc shares.
The transaction is subject to approval by Total Produce shareholders, regulatory approval and customary conditions.
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