Dole is stepping up its debt reduction strategy with a plan to go public on the US stock market.

The world's largest fresh produce company said proceeds from shares, which could reach half a billion dollars, would be used to pay certain debts. Analysts welcomed the move by upgrading Dole's rating.

Earlier this month Dole announced it had reduced its net debt by $145m (£89m) in the second quarter and by $480m (£294m), or 20%, over the last five quarters. Its debts had reached $2.48bn (£1.52bn) in March 2008.