About DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC.

With a history rooted in pineapple plantations, Dole Food has become the world's largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables. Recognized by its Dole label on bananas, pineapples, and tropical produce, the company boasts some 200 food products that are sourced, grown, processed, marketed, and distributed in 90-plus countries. Items are produced by Dole or its associated producers and marketed under Dole and other brand names to supermarkets, mass merchandisers, wholesalers, and food service operators. Dole also markets a line of packaged cut fruit, salads, canned and frozen fruit, and juices. The company was founded in 1851 and was taken private in late 2013 by CEO David Murdock.

Change in Company Type

Chairman and CEO David Murdock in November 2013 bought the 60% of Dole's shares he didn't already own, thereby taking the company private. The unsolicited offer of $13.50 per share in cash valued the company at nearly $1.6 billion. (Previously, Murdock took the company private in 2003.)

Operations

Dole operates its business through three segments: fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and packaged foods. The fresh fruit segment consists of several operating divisions that produce and market fresh fruit to wholesale, retail, and institutional customers globally. The fresh vegetables segment also produces and markets fresh-packed and value-added vegetables and salads, as well as berries, to wholesale, retail, and institutional customers primarily located in North America and Europe. The packaged foods segment comprises operating divisions that produce and market packaged foods, such as fruit juices, frozen fruit, and healthy snack foods.

Dole's operations today are multinational, spanning 117,000 acres of farms and other holdings, including thousands of acres of farmland in Hawaii and peach orchards in California. Worldwide, the company owns more than 1 million sq. ft. of vegetable processing facilities. Its packaged food operations encompass nearly double that in square foot manufacturing space. Dole also operates the largest dedicated, refrigerated, containerized fleet in the world. 

Geographic Reach

Dole has more than 1 million sq. ft. of vegetable processing plants worldwide and sells its products in the Americas, Asia, Europe, and parts of the Middle East and Africa.

It operates banana ripening, produce, and flower distribution centers in Sweden, Germany, Austria, and Italy. It also has salad and vegetable plants in Sweden, Costa Rica, and Finland as well as in Japan through joint ventures with local distributors. Dole also owns processing and distribution centers in China and has packing, cold storage, and distribution facilities in Chile.

Sales and Marketing

The company contends with few Goliaths (primarily Chiquita Brands and Fresh Del Monte Produce), making the entire business -- from growing to processing -- highly competitive.

Dole has regional sales organizations dedicated to servicing major retail and wholesale customers. The company also enlists the help of brokers in certain regions to sell packaged fruit products and packaged salads.

Strategy

Not surprisingly, Dole leads the market in many of the sectors and regions its serves. In North America it holds the #1 market position in bananas, cauliflower, celery, iceberg lettuce, and packaged fruit products. Producing roughly 150 million boxes of bananas each year, the company dominates the US with a third of the market; in Japan it boasts slightly under a third. Dole produces more than 33 million boxes of pineapple, trailing only Fresh Del Monte Produce in that segment.

Dole fends off rivals by both exploiting its capabilities to deliver produce at a lower cost and focusing on a high-growth, value-added segments. Specifically, consumer preferences for convenient, tasty, pre-cut fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables are outstripping demand for bulk fresh produce. 

Divestitures

To cut debt, Dole in 2013 sold its worldwide packaged foods and Asia Fresh Produce businesses to ITOCHU for about $1.7 billion in cash. The two businesses accounted for some $2.5 billion in revenues.

In 2014 it sold its minority interest in Compagnie Financiere de Participations.

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DOLE FOOD COMPANY, INC.

1 Dole Dr
Westlake Village, CA 91362-7300
Phone: 1 (818) 874-4000
Fax: 1 (818) 879-6650
www.dole.com

Stats

  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman and CEO: David H. Murdock
  • Managing Director: Gerald Gant
  • Chairman and CEO: David H. Murdock

Major Office Locations

  • Westlake Village, CA

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