What happened: Shares of the world’s large produce company slid by over 9% on Friday after debuting on the New York Stock Exchange. Dole (NYSE: DOLE) opened for trading at $15, at an implied market value of approximately $1.5 billion, which was below the initial public offering of $16. The stock closed at $14.50 on Friday, giving the company a market valuation of $1.35 billion. “The timing was what it was, the valuation is what it is,” said Chief Executive Officer Rory Byrne in an interview.
This was the company’s third effort to go public, after an initial offer of 26 million shares for $20 to $23 on Tuesday, then a second share sale of 30.3 million shares for $16 to $17 dollars on Thursday. Friday’s IPO ended up selling only 25 million shares and raising $400 million in gross proceeds.
Why it’s important: The IPO comes after the successful merger of Dole with Total Produce, a deal that was announced in February. According to its filings, the combined company generated $58 million in net income with $2.3 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year. Byrne says the iconic Dole brand positions the company to attract investors and generate future growth.
Dole has previously filed to go public twice in recent years. David H. Murdock took the company private in 2003 to avoid bankruptcy, it was relisted in 2009 and again taken private in 2013. A second IPO filing in 2017 was withdrawn the following year.
What’s next: The company intends to spend the money raised by the IPO on merger costs and paying down its debt. Byrne says he doesn’t expect to see any material impact on Dole from an ongoing drought in California. The company owns more than 109,000 acres of land worldwide as of March of this year.
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