Dole has sold its Fresh Vegetables Division to Chiquita Holdings-owned Fresh Express for gross proceeds of $293 million.
The division comprises operations related to the processing and sales 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.
“Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies, and food safety,” Carl McCann, executive chairman of Dole plc, said in a statement. “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.”
With agricultural operations and four processing plants across the U.S., the business employs more than 3,000 people.
Net proceeds from the sale are currently expected to be used primarily for debt reduction of Dole, the company said.
“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,” Jose Luis Cutrale Jr., Chiquita Holdings’ chairman, said in a statement. “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.”