- Dole Food is looking to go public again after being taken private by billionaire David Murdock in 2013 when he bought the company for $1.2 billion, according to the Financial Times. Murdock purchased the company once before in 2003 and floated its shares in 2009.
- Since being taken private four years ago, MarketWatch says Dole bought three new West Coast vessels, gaining greater control of the supply chain, and increased its acreage by 20%.
- The company generated $4.51 billion in net revenues during the fiscal year ended December 31, 2016. It posted a net loss of $23.7 million during the period.
The return of Dole back to Wall Street comes as its 94-year old owner seeks to sell at least part of the fruit and vegetable company he has been associated with for more than a decade. While many food manufacturers have been struggling, fruit and vegetable demand has grown as consumers eat less sugar and fatty foods in favor of more fresh produce. Organic, where Dole has a presence, has been among the hottest growing areas.
A report from the United Fresh Produce Association found an increase in sales of fresh produce last year — 1.5% more volume and 3.6% in weekly dollar sales. It's no wonder stores such as Wal-Mart have expanded their produce selections, benefiting Dole, Fresh Del Monte and other companies in the process. The UFPA report showed produce represents 33% of all fresh grocery sales, second only to the meat department.
With Dole in private hands, the company was able to strengthen its business by buying new ships and land to grow its crops. It's likely Dole, an iconic producer of pineapples, bananas and bagged salads, would return to the public eye with a firm presence in these areas and ability to capitalize on the growing trends. The company, which traces its origins to Hawaii in 1851, has not said when or at what price it will go public, but when it does reemerge it's going to be firmly centered in a growing sector — something that is coveted by Wall Street.