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Saturday, Sep 23, 2023

Dole Finalizes Asian Food Sale

Dole Food Co. Inc. announced Monday it has completed the sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh food businesses. The sale was first announced in September. The Westlake Village produce company sold the businesses to Itochu Corp. of Tokyo. The nearly $1.7 billion sale was delayed over Chinese antitrust concerns. Under the deal, Itochu will have the right to sell Dole packaged foods, such as canned fruits and snacks, worldwide, and Dole-branded fresh fruits and vegetables in Asia. Those businesses represented about 34 percent of Dole’s revenues in fiscal 2011, according to the company. “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,” said Chief Operating Officer C. Michael Carter, in a statement. The sale leaves Dole with two lines of business: fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. The funds from the sale have allowed the company to pay off its existing debt, which is about $1.7 billion, and pay-down a more than $59-million fine levied by the European Commission from a 2008 case that alleged the company fixed banana prices. The company plans to appeal the ruling. Dole lost 21 cents, or 1.9 percent, to close at $10.69 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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