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Dole plc sells fresh vegetables division to Fresh Express

fresh express dole logos

January 31, 2023 — DUBLIN — (BUSINESS WIRE) — Dole plc BB #:124463 has today announced that certain of its subsidiaries have entered into a definitive agreement to sell Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division BB #:114768 to an affiliate of Fresh Express Incorporated BB #:115030, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited BB #:138475, for gross proceeds of approximately $293 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments.

The 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 December 31, 2021, the Fresh Vegetables Division reported revenue of $1.28 billion. The business has agricultural operations and four processing plants across the United States and employs more than 3,000 people.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the parties expect that the transaction will close after approval is obtained, subject to customary closing conditions.

Net proceeds from the sale are currently expected to be used primarily for debt reduction of Dole.

Commenting on the transaction, Carl McCann, Executive Chairman of Dole plc said:

“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.

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

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.”

Commenting further on the transaction, Jose Luis Cutrale Jr., Chiquita Holdings’ Chairman said:

“We are 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. 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. 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 labor, supply chain challenges and water issues. 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.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming the dedicated Dole Fresh Vegetables Division team to the Chiquita Holdings family.”

About Dole plc:

A global leader in fresh produce, Dole plc grows, markets, and distributes an extensive variety of fresh produce sourced locally and from around the world. Dedicated and passionate in exceeding our customers’ requirements in over 75 countries, our goal is to make the world a healthier and a more sustainable place.

About Chiquita Holdings Ltd:

Chiquita Holdings Ltd is the parent of a group operating as a leading international marketer and distributor of (1) bananas and pineapples sold worldwide under the Chiquita® and other brand names and (2) vegetables and packaged salads sold primarily in the United States under the Fresh Express® and other brand names.

Investor Contact Dole plc:

James O’Regan, Head of Investor Relations
+353 1 887 2794

Media Contact Dole plc:

William Goldfield

Brian Bell, Ogilvy
+353 87 2436 130

Media Contact Fresh Express:

Barbara Hines