Acquisition talks between Belgian fruit and vegetable processor Greenyard Foods and its American competitor Dole have not yielded anything. Greenyard would have become the world’s largest fruit and vegetable processor, had the deal been finalized.
Dole twice as large
Greenyard Foods revealed the negotiations with Dole had been ended, but the Belgian company did not reveal the actual reason for it. Most likely, Dole’s asking price was simply too high. “At a certain point, you have to draw a line in the sand when you are talking about the conditions”, Greenyard CEO Hein Deprez told Belgian newspaper De Tijd.
“During the negotiations, we were backed by top-level advisors and we were looking at how we could fit Dole into Greenyard’s strategy. After having done that analysis, you have to draw the line”, he said. The former mushroom grower still feels Dole would complement his own business.
The fact that Dole is twice the size of Greenyard did not prove to be a stumbling block. Greenyard is valued at 1.2 billion euro and Dole at 2.5 billion euro (including debt). Looking at turnover, both are much more alike: the Belgian company generated 4.25 billion euro in 2016 and the American company 4.5 billion dollars (3.8 billion euro).
With the deal, Greenyard would have become the world’s largest fruit and vegetable processing company. Its strategy is to operate more vertically: it wants to own and control every section in its supply chain and therefore provide the best possible service to its (retail) customers. Albert Heijn is a major customer for instance.
Deprez insists Dole approached him initially: “Dole came to us to negotiate.” He feels that shows the Belgian company still has a lot of potential. “It is clear that Greenyard still has much more to offer than many people had thought.”
The company will continue alone for the time being, but remains highly ambitious. “Greenyard will continue to execute the strategy we have drawn up in the past few years. We may have halted the Dole negotiations, but Greenyard will not stop working”, Deprez said.