04/02/2014 — HAMBURG, Germany — (BUSINESS WIRE)
At the 2014 Fruit Logistica in Berlin on Feb 5 to 7th, Dole Europe will be highlighting its projects and achievements in the grape category and announcing the potential acquisition of a controlling share in an early grape farm in South Africa, its first direct investment in fruit production in the country. Fruit Care Services (Pty) Ltd., one of Dole Europe’s subsidiaries located in South Africa, has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a view to purchasing Rekopane, a 600-hectare farm located on the banks of the Orange River, 30km from the South African town of Upington.
The farm, which is currently planted with 100 hectares of table grapes, has a potential capacity of over 400 thousand boxes a season. “Dole Europe has been involved in the South African grape industry since the early days of the deregulation and has grown its business steadily thanks to the trust of its growers, the strength of its brand and its worldwide distribution network,” says Gerald Gant, General Manager of Dole South Africa.
The acquisition of Rekopane will open a new chapter in the history of Dole South Africa, reflecting the company’s global strategy of increasing the proportion of fruit produced on its own farms and its renewed commitment to the grape business. “Rekopane is a well situated farm with tremendous potential for growth. We plan to develop this farm to its full potential. It is an exciting project.” Gerald Gant adds, “Being a grape producer will now allow us to improve our technical expertise for the benefit of our customers and growers alike.” While still subject to due diligence, the transaction is expected to be completed in July 2014.
Dole Europe will be featuring the importance of the grape category within its overall product portfolio through the visuals at its stand in Hall 6.2 – an innovative mix of pictures and short videos. For decades, the Chilean and South African programs have been the cornerstone of Dole Europe’s 19-million-box grapes business. Dole Europe has not only focused on delivering the highest quality but also in adding value throughout the supply chain.
This is illustrated by our involvement in researching and bringing new varieties to the market and our investment in – and installation of – several punnet machines in South Africa to satisfy the needs of our customers. Dole Europe does currently own a number of varieties directly, is licensed for several others, and is very focused on improving its range of the latest and best performing cultivars available.
In the past 10 years, grapes sourcing from a number of other origins have been developed, enabling the company to offer an all-year round program. Over the years Dole Europe has established strong overseas partnerships and begun importing from countries like India, Morocco, Egypt, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Spain and – more recently – Lebanon.
“The grape industry has expanded rapidly from a number of sources and, by providing guidance on both production techniques and post-harvesting issues, Dole Europe has been instrumental in helping growers from around the world to offer their products successfully on the market,” says Hannes Nieuwoudt, General Manager for Diversified Fruit at Dole Fresh Fruit Europe.
“Dole Europe will continue to intensify these partnerships by investing further in additional technical resources that assist growers during the critical phases of production and packing. We have been very pleased with our grapes business in the past, but feel there is still a lot that can be achieved. In our view there is more good growth potential in this category.”
About Dole Fresh Fruit Europe: Dole Europe is the European division of Dole Food Company, Inc., one of the world’s largest suppliers of fresh fruit and vegetables. Dole Europe imports a wide range of fresh fruit and vegetables from both Dole-owned farms and independent growers from all over the world. Dole Europe also provides retailers with innovative solutions for services and products. Dole Europe’s network stretches from Scandinavia to South Africa, from Italy to Russia and the Middle East. More information at www.dole.eu.
Dole Fresh Fruit Europe
D – 20097 Hamburg
KEYWORDS: Europe Germany South Africa Africa
INDUSTRY KEYWORDS: Retail Food/Beverage