Dole, Itochu extend sale closure to April 1

02/22/2013 03:16:00 PM
Mike Hornick

DoleThe closing of the $1.68 billion sale of Dole Food Co.’s worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses to Itochu Corp. has been extended to April 1.

Itochu, which requested the date, paid Dole a nonrefundable cash deposit of $200 million Feb. 22, according to a news release.

The companies reached an acquisition agreement in September. China’s acceptance of the deal in January secured the last of the seven regulatory approvals needed. Dole earlier forecast closure in late February.

Itochu will have exclusive rights to the Dole trademark on packaged food products worldwide and on fresh produce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Dole will continue to source, distribute and market bananas, pineapples and tropical fruits; packaged salads; fresh packed vegetables; and fresh berries.

“The new Dole will have a smaller footprint as a commodity produce company with overall revenue in the $4.2 billion range with two lines of business — fresh fruit and fresh vegetables,” David Murdock, chairman, said in the release.

Under the extension agreement, David DeLorenzo is stepping down as Dole chief executive officer but will remain on its board after the closure. He will lead management of the acquired businesses and afterward join Itochu.

Murdock is chairman and chief executive officer at Dole. C. Michael Carter has added the roles of president and chief operating officer. Keith Mitchell, chief financial officer of Dole’s North American Fresh Fruit business, will become chief financial officer of Dole Food Co.

Dole’s board has increased to nine members as Carter and E. Rolland Dickson rejoined it. Dickson was a professor of medicine at Mayo Medical School and director of development at the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

In January, Dole reported a continuing declining trend in its fresh fruit business due mainly to banana market conditions. The company anticipates 2013 adjusted earnings (before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to be on the low end of the previously announced $150 million to $170 million range.

Dole is also trying to sell about 21,800 acres of farm land on Oahu, seeking $175 million to $200 million. Proceeds may go to increasing the number of its fresh fruit farms owned and to updating Dole’s vessel fleet.



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