Dole Sells Progressive Stake to Arable Capital

"Dole Plc announces the sale of its 65% stake in Progressive Produce to Arable Capital's PTF Holdings, marking a strategic shift and focusing on core business growth."

3/2/20243 min read

Dole Sells
Dole Sells

"Dole Plc, a renowned name in the world fresh produce sector, was making the headlines for its decision to sell a major chunk of its business. More precisely, Dole has decided to offload a 65% equity holding in its subsidiary, Progressive Produce, to PTF Holdings. This transaction is of significance for several reasons—not least the large cash proceeds amounting to $120.25 million (approximately €110.77 million) it involves. For the meaning of this sale to be brought out, it has to be of importance going into the background of the companies involved. Running within the Diversified Fresh Produce segment in the Americas and the Rest of the World of the Dole organization, is its subsidiary Progressive Produce. That would mean, of course, part and parcel of the big operations of Dole, but more precisely in the Americas and the rest of the world.

The buyer in the reviewed case is PTF Holdings, connected with a Portfolio Entity under Arable Capital Partners, LLC. This relationship implies it to be of strategic purchase type, considering the focus of Arable Capital Partners on investments within the agribusiness field.

Progressive Produce has its headquarters in Los Angeles, CA, with a very good reputation in the industry. It is an organization involved in growing, packing, and distributing both conventional and organic produce. Serving the most diversified sections, ranging from retail to wholesale and food service, it primarily serves the US and Canada with a strong business model. What it brings along is the good name of one of the leading produce companies in California, with annual sales figures over $400 million (approximately €368 million). This is not just a mere barter of assets, but this means so much in one's life and in the life of Dole and PTF Holdings. The strategic move is expected to be concluded by March 2024, subject to the usual conditions that govern such deals. For Dole, the sale is more than a financial transaction. The company proposes to use the net proceeds for the reduction of debt and to take a greater step up in its investments toward core operations in reflection of a strategic shift toward strengthening financial health and operational focus.

In a position to comment, Carl McCann, executive chairman of Dole plc, reflects on the strategic and emotional dimensions of this deal. With a look down the path since Dole's first investment in Progressive Produce in 2016, it is no doubt that the subsidiary has done exceptionally well, with management teams adding value over the years. His every word spoke volumes about the deal being important and stretching not only far beyond the numbers of the business but rather into the human and relationship aspects of the business.

Dole Sells

What post-transaction future can be expected? Both Progressive Produce and Pacific Trellis Fruit, the latter under PTF Holdings, would continue to operate independently. It then means that there is the inclination in strategic terms to keep operations and brand integrity even as there is a change in ownership.

Derek Yurosek, managing director of Arable Capital Partners, said that the news on the acquisition was met with warm enthusiasm. Excitement to announce the new partnership with Progressive Produce only goes to prove how much the two parties are in real synergy. Yurosek attributes this new growth and leadership to Progressive Produce in key categories of produce, a diversified customer base, and an exceptional team that continues to lead in the company's success. This forward-looking statement highlights Arable's commitment to the continued support of Progressive Produce in its efforts towards ensuring there is continued excellence in the delivery of products and services across its diversified customer segments.

This deal, therefore, is not just some swapping of equity stakes but rather a massive change in the landscape of the agricultural sector, particularly in fresh produce. The work therefore reflects a strategic realignment in financial decision-making and a roadmap for sustained growth and excellence in service delivery. Industry and other keen observers will watch with very keen eyes, as these start new paths in their respective evolution, to see the outcome of this partnership and the continued evolution of Dole, Progressive Produce, and Pacific Trellis Fruit in a very dynamic agricultural market."

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