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Dole to sell packaged foods business to ITOCHU

Dole Food Company has announced the sale of its worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses for $1.7bn to Japan-based ITOCHU, as part of an agreement signed with the company.

According to Dole, the proposed deal is subject to the company’s stockholder approval and customary regulatory approvals in multiple countries and cash proceeds from the deal will be used by the company for debt reduction, to pay deal-related expenses, and for restructuring and other corporate purposes.

Under the agreement, ITOCHU will have exclusive rights to the DOLE trademark on packaged food products worldwide and on fresh produce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

Dole Worldwide Packaged Foods produces canned pineapple, canned pineapple juice, fruit juice concentrate, fruit in plastic cups, jars and pouches, fruit parfaits, healthy snack foods and frozen fruit. Dole Asia Fresh Produce grows, sources, ships and distributes fruit and vegetables principally in Asia.

The combined revenue of both the businesses totaled about $2.5bn in 2011.

Upon completion of the deal, Dole’s fresh produce business will continue to source, distribute and market bananas, pineapples and other tropical fruits, packaged salads, fresh-packed vegetables and fresh berries.