It seems like the sale of Dole's worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh business to Itochu is almost complete, following an announcement that the American fruit major's president will be joining Itochu to run the company's new acquisitions.
David DeLorenzo will move over to Itochu following the purchase, worth almost $1.7bn in cash, after a buying process that began in September.
The transaction has already received required regulatory approval in six of seven reviewing countries, and both Dole and Itochu are continuing to work towards completing the sale by the end of the year, subject to the anticipated final regulatory approval from China.
Focusing on home ops
In the United States, Dole operations will no longer include the worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh businesses, resulting in overall revenue for the shorn company in the approximate $4.2bn range, with revenue from its fresh fruit business line being reduced in size by approximately 30%.
Hitherto, Dole Worldwide Packaged Foods produces a range of products from tinned pineapples to healthy snack foods and frozen fruit. Dole Asia Fresh Produce grows, sources, ships and distributes fresh fruit and vegetables, principally in Asia. The combined value if these businesses was worth $2.5bn in 2011.
“This is a transformative transaction for our company and we are pleased to have received stockholder approval,” said David H. Murdock, Dole’s chairman.
“While Dole’s fresh produce business will be significantly smaller and is continuing to experience declining earnings in a continued difficult economic environment both in the United States and in Europe, I am very optimistic about the long-term future of Dole and its prospects.”
Itochu to enter Indonesia
Meanwhile, Itochu has announced that it is launching a joint-venture to manufacture snacks in Indonesia. The agreement, with fellow Japanese food major Calbee and local partner PT Mitrajaya Ekaprana, will form a special-purpose company in which Itochu will have a 10% stake.
The plant, in an undisclosed location in Indonesia, is expected to commence production and distribution in 2014.
"Itochu is working to build an upstream structure enabling the constant supply of safe and reassuring food," the company said in a release. "In this joint venture project, Itochu will be supplying potatoes and other materials."