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Dole Buys 2 Fresh-Flower Companies to Expand Product Base

VALLEY AND VENTURA COUNTY | VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP
/ BARBARA MURPHY

June 09, 1998|BARBARA MURPHY

Dole Food Co. in Westlake Village has purchased two fresh-flower companies in an effort to offer more products to supermarkets that already buy Dole's fruit, vegetables and salads.

Dole, the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruit and vegetables, said it acquired Sunburst Farms, the largest U.S. importer of fresh-cut flowers, and Floramerica Co., Latin America's largest grower and exporter of fresh-cut flowers to the United States. The companies have a combined annual revenue of about $100 million. Terms of the transactions were not disclosed.

Dole said it is adding a fresh-flower and plant business because about 84% of U.S. supermarkets now have floral departments, up from 55% in 1984.

"Supermarkets like the idea of Dole standing behind the production and the quality of cut flowers," said Deutsche Morgan Grenfell analyst Timothy Ramey.

Dole had 1997 revenue of $4.34 billion. Sunburst is based in Miami; Floramerica has production sites in Ecuador, Colombia and Mexico.

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