Dole Pineapple

Total Produce has agreed to acquire a 45% stake in banana giant Dole Food Company for $300m (£211.5m). The deal would create the world’s leading fruit & veg group, a joint statement said.

Dole is market leader for bananas in North America, as well as the third-largest in Europe, and holds the number two and three positions in pineapples in the two regions respectively.

The business, valued at $2bn (£1.4bn), generated EBITDA of $237m (£167.1m) on revenues of $4.5bn (£3.2bn) in the year to 7 October 2017.

The transaction follows Total’s acquisition of a 50% stake in California-based The Fresh Connection in November and a number of deals in 2016.

“This investment is the single most positive step in our company’s history,” said chairman Carl McCann.

“It places Total Produce at the forefront of our industry, and we anticipate it will create significant additional value for shareholders in the years ahead.”

The Dole management team will continue to operate the business as before, with McCann becoming vice chairman.

Dole owner and chairman David Murdock said: “For many years I have cherished my friendship with the McCann Family, and I know that my late friend Neil McCann would be so proud to see his son Carl McCann completing this strategic partnership between our two companies.

“Both Dole and Total Produce have a standard of perfection that leads the industry in innovation, together we will further our joint mission of providing the highest quality produce to the world.”