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Dole To Sell Fresh Vegetables Division To Fresh Express

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Dole plc has announced that some of its subsidiaries have entered into an agreement to sell Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division to an affiliate of Fresh Express Inc., a subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited, for gross proceeds of about $293 million in cash.

The Fresh Vegetables Division comprises operations related to the processing and sale 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. The business has agricultural operations and four processing plants across the U.S. and employs more than 3,000 people.

“We are pleased to announce the sale of our Fresh Vegetables Division. Combining with Fresh Express will improve the offering and service to customers and consumers through increased investments in innovation, efficiencies, and food safety,” said Carl McCann, executive chairman of Dole plc.

“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.”

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and the parties expect that the transaction will close after approval is obtained, subject to customary closing conditions. Net proceeds from the sale are expected to be used for debt reduction of Dole.

“We are excited about the combination with Dole’s Fresh Vegetables Division,” said Jose Luis Cutrale Jr., Chiquita Holdings’ chairman.

“With this transaction, we want to combine our best practises across food safety, freshness of produce, mechanisation, automation and innovation to offer rapidly expanding choices of safer and healthier produce products to the consumer. This combination will ultimately help drive growth in the entire produce industry and support higher demand for our valued produce grower base in California, Arizona, Colorado, Florida and across the entire USA.”

“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.”

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