Dole Food Co. has completed the $1.68 billion sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce business to Itochu Corp.
The sale closure, previously forecast for February, took place April 1. It gives Itochu exclusive rights to the Dole brand on some packaged food products worldwide and fresh produce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Those business lines accounted for about 34% of Dole revenues in 2011 and 56% of operating income. After the sale, the company projects revenue around $4.2 billion.
“Dole will remain an industry leader in the sourcing, distribution and marketing of bananas, pineapples and other tropical and deciduous fruits, packaged salads, fresh-packed vegetables and fresh berries,” C. Michael Carter, Dole’s president and chief operating officer, said in a news release.
Sale proceeds and a capital restructuring were used to pay off Dole debt of $1.7 billion and to cover other expenses, among them a fine of 45.6 million euros imposed by the European Commission. That case concerned alleged anticompetitive information exchanges 10 years ago between Dole Fresh Fruit Europe OHG and other banana importers in Germany. Dole plans to appeal the fine to the European Union Court of Justice.
Dole has also received new bank financing that includes a $500 million term loan and $150 million in revolving credit.