World’s largest fresh produce company grows Charlotte HQ

World’s largest fresh produce company grows Charlotte HQ

Courtesy of Dole Food

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Dole Food Company announced a merger with Ireland-based Total Produce Wednesday. The combined business will be the world’s largest fresh produce company, and it’ll have its American headquarters in Charlotte.

Why it matters: Companies with headquarters in Charlotte help drive the local economy. They generate thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly through areas like construction and logistics, according to the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. [Go deeper]

The newly formed company, Dole plc, will be publicly listed on a U.S. exchange, the company said in a statement. Charlotte is a “likely” market Dole will continue to expand in, the company says.

Zoom out: Dole has had a North Carolina presence for decades. In 2003, Dole Food chairman and owner David Murdock opened the Dole Nutrition Institute at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, I wrote for the Observer a few years ago.

  • In 2019, Dole quietly moved its corporate headquarters to Uptown Charlotte from California, “in an effort to drive cost savings and better align time zones,” the company has said. Its offices are at 200 South Tryon.

Senior-level executives and various departments such as legal, HR, marketing and sales are based in Charlotte, spokesperson William Goldfield said. Dole’s Uptown offices employ nearly 50 corporate and divisional Dole team members.

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“Because of the broad nature of work done by groups currently based in Charlotte, it would be likely location for expansion as growth occurs,” Goldfield said in an email.

Details: The combined Dole plc will be the “global #1 in fresh produce,” the company says. Its combined annual revenue total is approximately $9.7 billion. If regulators approve the deal, the merged company will be double the size of its closest rival, Del Monte Foods, per The Irish Times.

  • Dole plc’s global headquarters will be in Dublin.

Our thought bubble: Charlotte’s memory is still fresh of having another fruit company headquartered here — Chiquita Brands International. In 2015, Chiquita ditched town and took hundreds of jobs with it, a move that required it to pay back millions in incentives it had gotten from state and local governments.

Dole Food didn’t receive any incentives from the city, county or state to move its HQ here, representatives from each confirmed separately.

Editor’s note: This story was updated at 3 p.m. on Feb. 18, 2021 to include details on incentives.

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