Dole Food files IPO to lighten debt-burden

Dole Food

Dole Food Co Inc, the world's leading producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, has planned to lift as much as $500 million via initial public offering, in a move to get rid of heavy debt.

The Fitch Ratings described the step as a positive move, saying it would help the company in reducing its debt.

Filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission says that the shares on offer will include newly issued ones, along with those presently held by its sole shareholder.

Recession hit the company hard as its net revenue plunged 11 percent to settle at $3.3 billion for the first half of 2009. Net income dropped 18 percent to settle at $123 million as compared with figures for first half of 2008.

Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank AG and Wells Fargo Securities are underwriting the offering.

California-based Dole, whose beginning dates back to 1851, went private in 2003 and is owned by its chairman, David Murdock.