April 25 U.S. fruit and vegetable producer Dole
Food Co Inc, led by 94-year old David Murdock, filed with
regulators on Tuesday for an initial public offering, four years
after it was taken private.
The California-based company — once the world's largest
producer of fruits and vegetables — was taken private by Murdock
in 2013 in a $1.2 billion deal following a four-year run as a
The sale came as Dole struggled to generate profits amid
volatile demand and low prices for bananas, its highest selling
Before going private, Dole had sold its packaged foods and
Asia fresh produce businesses to Japan's Itochu Corp
for $1.7 billion, shrinking itself by a third, to help pay down
Since Dole's sale to Murdock, the fruit producer has cut
costs, sold non-core assets, improved its supply chain and
diversified its product lines, the company said in its IPO
paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Dole, one of the largest producers of bananas and
pineapples, also said it expects to benefit from the increasing
demand for fresh produce from health-conscious consumers.
The company generated $4.51 billion in revenue last year,
but posted a net loss of $23.7 million. That compares with a
loss of $144.5 million and revenue of $4.25 billion in 2012 —
the year before Dole went private.
Murdock, who made his fortune in real estate, first bought
Dole in 1985.
The nonagenarian CEO last year reached a settlement related
to a lawsuit that alleged he short-changed shareholders in 2013
when he took Dole private.
Dole filed for an IPO of up to $100 million of its common
The amount a company says it plans to raise in its first IPO
filings is used to calculate registration fees. The final size
of the IPO could be different.
Net proceeds from the offering will be used to pay down debt
and for other expenses, Dole said.
Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank are
among underwriters for the offering.
(Reporting by Diptendu Lahiri in Bengaluru; Editing by
Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Sai Sachin Ravikumar)