Greenyard targets U.S. market with talks to accumulate Dole Meals

(Reuters) – Belgian recent and frozen meals firm Greenyard NV mentioned on Tuesday it was in superior negotiations to accumulate Dole Meals Firm [DFCI.UL], the world’s largest fruit and vegetable producer, confirming a Reuters report.

The California-based firm, one of many largest producers of bananas and pineapples, could possibly be valued at greater than $2.5 billion, together with debt, folks aware of the matter mentioned on Monday. Greenyard has a market capitalization of 869 million euros ($1.03 billion) based on Thomson Reuters knowledge.

“Greenyard has secured acceptable financing, and is assured in its capacity to finish the transaction with a balanced financing strategy ought to a definitive settlement be reached,” the corporate mentioned in an announcement.

The deal would create an organization with annual income of round eight billion euros.

Shares in Brussels-listed Greenyard, half-owned by the household of Belgian entrepreneur Hein Deprez, had been up 1.9 p.c at 0830 GMT, after a three.three p.c rise on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Dole model bananas are seen on show on the Safeway retailer in Wheaton, Maryland, United States, February 13, 2015. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Picture

For Dole’s 94-year-old chairman David Murdock a take care of Greenyard would provide a fast technique to money out on his possession of the California-based firm, which has additionally been contemplating a possible preliminary public providing.

For Greenyard, an acquisitive firm that started off as a mushroom grower within the 1980s, the deal would enable it to department out into the U.S. market. It may additionally provide the U.S. companies of current clients comparable to Aldi [ALDIEI.UL], Lidl and Ahold Delhaize.

“It’s a very fragmented fruit and veg distribution market they’re working in… a few of the markets the place they’ve talked about being extra formidable are France, the UK and the U.S., and positively Dole would give them that key into the U.S.,” mentioned Berenberg analyst Fintan Ryan.

“From a strategic standpoint, the acquisition would make sense creating a big participant in each Europe and America,” KBC analysts mentioned in a be aware, including that Greenyard would want to boost about 500 million euros to maintain its internet debt/EBITDA degree ratio to beneath three.5.

Dole Meals Firm couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.

($1 = zero.8471 euros)

Reporting by Alan Charlish; extra reporting by Philip Blenkinsop in Brussels, enhancing by Louise Heavens

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