In a statement, the company today (5 January) revealed that negotiations to acquire Dole have ended “without definitive agreement”.
Commenting on the news, Greenyard chairman Hein Deprez said the acquisition would have marked a “significant milestone” for both companies.
The merger would have resulted in the formation of a company with annual revenues of around €8bn.
Greenyard, which was formed by a merger with Univeg, has operations in 25 countries and annual sales of €4.25bn. Last fiscal, Dole reported revenue of about $4.5bn. The company is one of the world’s largest suppliers of pineapples and bananas.
“We pursued all efforts to realise a transaction with financial and strategic merit that would have created value for all stakeholders involved, nevertheless an agreement could not be reached,” Deprez noted.
Nevertheless, he continued: “We are confident that Greenyard has the right strategy and priorities in place to continue generating profitable growth and strengthening our global leadership position in fruit and vegetables.
“We are confident that Greenyard is at the forefront of its industry, and will continue to pursue its successful and ambitious path as a market leader, creating continued shareholder value.”
Since Greenyard merged with Univeg and Peatinvest in 2015, the enlarged group has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy. Recent deals include the acquisition of Ukrainian mushroom group Mykogen Polska, the formation of a joint venture with UK apple group Bardsley Farms, and the purchase of mushroom canner Lutèce.
A merger with Dole would have extended Greenyard’s geographic reach, particularly in North America. The Belgium company’s operations are currently primarily focused on Europe. The group’s largest market is Germany, where it generates 31% of sales, followed by the Netherlands and Belgium, which account for 23% and 10% of total group revenue respectively.
The Greenyard bid for Dole came several months after the US produce group filed its intention to launch a public offering for $100m shares in April. Chairman David Murdock took Dole private four years ago. However, this was contested move by existing shareholders in lawsuits that were settled earlier this year.