Total Produce has been given the green light from the European Commission over its €260 million investment in Dole, according to the Irish Times.
The decision allows the Irish food distributor to take a 45% stake in the US group earlier than expected.
The European Commission said that “no further condition precedents are outstanding”.
A Pleasant Surprise
At the beginning of June, Total Produce’s chief executive, Rory Byrne told the Times that at the company’s AGM it was revealed that the European Commission’s competition directorate was ‘taking longer than expected’ to approve the deal.
The deal was agreed in February but was subject to anti-trust reviews in both the US and the EU. Now that it has received EU clearing, the deal is expected to close today, July 31st.
According to the Irish Times. Total Produce has the option of buying Dole outright over five years, however, the US group has a $1 billion outstanding debt with the banks, and Total Produce chairman Carl McCann said that is not something the Irish group wants to take on.
McCann told group shareholders that “it makes more sense to try to reduce that debt before we take it onto our own balance sheet”.
Dole currently is the biggest US banana distributor, selling 140 million boxes per anum, with revenues around €3.9 billion.
© 2018 Checkout – your source for the latest Irish retail news. Article by Aidan O’Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.