Wed, Sep 19, 2012 - Page 15 News List

US fruit giant Dole in US$1.7bn deal with Japan’s Itochu

FIRST STEP:The deal is still subject to approval by shareholders and regulatory authorities. Dole plans to use the proceeds to repay debts

AFP, WASHINGTON

The US fruit giant Dole announced on Monday it had reached a deal to sell its worldwide packaged food and Asia fresh produce businesses to Japanese trading house Itochu for nearly US$1.7 billion.

The US$1.685 billion deal is still subject to approval from shareholders and regulatory authorities in “multiple countries” the company said in a statement.

“Cash proceeds from the transaction will be used by Dole for debt reduction, to pay deal-related expenses, and for restructuring and other corporate purposes,” it said.

Dole Worldwide Packaged Foods produces canned fruit, frozen fruit and fruit juice, as well as fruit parfaits and other snacks. Dole Asia Fresh Produce grows, sources, transports and distributes fresh fruits and vegetables.

The combined revenue of the two businesses totaled approximately US$2.5 billion last year, Dole said.

“We are realizing a premium valuation for our worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses and will retain a strong fresh produce business that has increased financial flexibility to grow,” CEO David DeLorenzo said.

Dole will retain its vast operations elsewhere in the world, which generated about US$4.2 billion in revenues last year, the company said.

Itochu said last week it would set up a new company in Tokyo to purchase the Dole operations, subject to a finalized deal.

Itochu is one of Japan’s biggest trading houses, dealing in everything from textiles and machinery to chemicals and food.

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