Business World

Tuesday 14 August 2018

Total Produce's Dole bid approved

Total Produce, chaired by Carl McCann, has the option to fully acquire Dole in five years
Total Produce, chaired by Carl McCann, has the option to fully acquire Dole in five years
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

The European Commission has cleared Total Produce's €260m purchase of a stake in US rival Dole.

The Commission's approval is conditional on the divestment of Saba Fresh Cut, the Swedish bagged salad business owned by Dole.

Total yesterday said that the disposal of Saba would have no material impact on the strategic rationale or commercial value of the transaction.

The fresh produce distributor unveiled the acquisition of a 45pc slice of Dole, one of the world's top producers of bananas and pineapples, in February, and plans to tap investors for about $150m (€127m) to help fund the deal.

Total and Dole's owner, 95-year-old billionaire David H Murdock, will run the company as a joint venture.

Total, a spin-out from Fyffes, and chaired by Carl McCann, has the option to fully acquire Dole in five years.

However, the US company remains saddled with $1bn in debt and posted a net loss last year of $16m.

Mr McCann, said that Total was "delighted" to conclude the substantial transaction.

"Dole is one of the world's foremost fresh produce companies and we look forward with great enthusiasm to working very closely together with David and his excellent management team to continue to develop the business in the future."

Last year Total Produce had sales of €4.3bn.

The company reported adjusted earnings before interest, tax and amortisation of €83.5m.

Shares in Total were down 0.5pc in afternoon trading on the Irish Stock Exchange yesterday.

Irish Independent

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