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UNITED STATES
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
_____________________

FORM 20-F
_____________________
(Mark One)

REGISTRATION STATEMENT PURSUANT TO SECTION 12(b) OR (g) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

For the fiscal year ended December 31, 2023

OR
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
OR
SHELL COMPANY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934

Date of event requiring this shell company report ...............
For the transition period from ______________ to ______________
Commission file number 001-40695

_____________________
Dole plc
(Exact name of Registrant as specified in its charter)
N/A
(Translation of Registrant’s name into English)
Ireland
(Jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)

98-1610692
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

29 North Anne Street, Dublin 7,
D07 PH36, Ireland

200 S. Tryon St, Suite #600, Charlotte, NC
United States 28202
(Address of principal executive offices)

Jacinta Devine
Chief Financial Officer
353-1-887-2600
jacinta.devine@dole.com
29 North Anne Street, Dublin 7,
D07 PH36, Ireland
(Name, E-mail and Address of Company Contact Person)
_____________________




Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act.
Title of each classTrading Symbol(s)Name of each exchange on which registered
Ordinary Shares, $0.01 par value per shareDOLEThe New York Stock Exchange

Securities registered or to be registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act.     (Title of Class)

Securities for which there is a reporting obligation pursuant to Section 15(d) of the Act. (Title of Class)

Indicate the number of outstanding shares of each of the issuer’s classes of capital or common stock as of the close of the period covered by the annual report: 94,929,179 Ordinary shares, par value $0.01 per share.

Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act.
Yes ☐ No
If this report is an annual or transition report, indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
☐ Yes ☒ No
Note – Checking the box above will not relieve any registrant required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 from their obligations under those Sections.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days.
Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically every Interactive Data File required to be submitted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such
shorter period that the registrant was required to submit such files).
Yes ☐ No
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or
an emerging growth company. See definition of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer,” and “emerging growth company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act.
Large accelerated filerAccelerated filer
Non-accelerated filerEmerging growth company
If an emerging growth company that prepares its financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, indicate by check mark if the registrant has elected not to use the extended transition period for complying with any new or revised financial accounting standards provided pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Exchange Act. ☐

† The term “new or revised financial accounting standard” refers to any update issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board to its Accounting Standards Codification after April 5, 2012.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has filed a report on and attestation to its management’s assessment of
the effectiveness of its internal control over financial reporting under Section 404(b) of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (15 U.S.C. 7262(b)) by the registered public accounting firm that prepared or issued its audit report.

If securities are registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act, indicate by check mark whether the financial statements of the
registrant included in the filing reflect the correction of an error to previously issued financial statements.

Indicate by check mark whether any of those error corrections are restatements that required a recovery analysis of incentive based compensation received by any of the registrant’s executive officers during the relevant recovery period pursuant to §240.10D-1(b).

Indicate by check mark which basis of accounting the registrant has used to prepare the financial statements included in this filing:
U.S. GAAPInternational Financial Reporting Standards as issued by the International Accounting Standards BoardOther



If “Other” has been checked in response to the previous question, indicate by check mark which financial statement item the registrant has elected to follow.
☐ Item 17 ☐ Item 18
If this is an annual report, indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act).
☐ Yes No



Table of Contents

Page




Background and Certain Defined Terms
In this report, unless otherwise specified, the terms “we”, “our”, “us”, the “Group”, the “Company” and “Dole” refer to Dole plc, individually or together with its subsidiaries, as the context may require. References to “Dole plc” refer to the registrant.
References to “Total Produce” refers to Total Produce plc, together with its subsidiaries, and references to “Legacy Dole” and “Dole Food Company” refer to DFC Holdings, LLC, together with its subsidiaries, prior to the transactions completed on July 29, 2021 (the “Acquisition Date”) (referred to herein as the “Merger”) pursuant to the Transaction Agreement. The Merger between Total Produce and Legacy Dole was accounted for under the acquisition method of accounting, with Total Produce deemed to be the acquirer for financial accounting purposes (the “Acquisition”). Accordingly, Total Produce’s historical financial statements are the historical financial statements of the combined company for the periods prior to the Acquisition Date. See Note 4 “Acquisitions and Divestitures” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for further detail.
References to the “Transaction”, “IPO Transaction” or “IPO” refers to the initial public offering of Dole plc on the New York Stock Exchange (“NYSE”) that consummated on July 30, 2021 and closed on August 3, 2021 (the “Closing Date”).
References to “Mr. Murdock” or “C&C Parties” refer to David H. Murdock and his affiliates, the former majority owner of Legacy Dole prior to the Merger.
The term “F-1 Filing” refers to the Registration Statement on Form F-1 (File No. 333-257621) that was filed on July 2, 2021 by Dole plc and amended on July 19, 2021, July 22, 2021 and July 28, 2021.
References to the “Annual Report” refer to the information on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2023 filed herein.
The term “Credit Agreement” refers to the March 26, 2021 credit agreement with Coöperatieve Rabobank U.A., New York Branch, as amended from time to time.
The term “Relevant Territory” is a European Union (“EU”) member state other than Ireland, or a country which Ireland has a double tax agreement.
Forward-Looking Statements
The following discussion about our business and analysis of our financial condition, results of operations and notes to the consolidated financial statements included herein may contain forward-looking statements that relate to our plans, objectives, estimates and goals and involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements included herein. Statements regarding our future and projections relating to products, sales, revenue, expenditures, costs and earnings are typical of such statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those identified below and those discussed in “Item 3D. Risk Factors.
5


The Annual Report on Form 20-F contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 relating to our operations, results of operations and other matters that are based on our current expectations, estimates, assumptions and projections. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs, assumptions and expectations of our future economic performance, considering the information currently available to management. These statements are not statements of historical fact. The words “believe,” “may,” “could,” “will,” “should,” “would,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intend,” “objective,” “seek,” “strive,” “target” or similar words, or the negative of these words, identify forward-looking statements. The inclusion of this forward-looking information should not be regarded as a representation by us or any other person that the future plans, estimates or expectations contemplated by us will be achieved. Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties and assumptions relating to our operations, financial results, financial condition, business prospects, growth strategy and liquidity. Accordingly, there are, or will be, important factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those indicated in these statements. All such risk factors are difficult to predict, contain uncertainties that may materially affect actual results and may be beyond our control. New risk factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such risk factors or to assess the impact of each such risk factor on the Company. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and we do not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement is made, except as required by the federal securities laws. If one or more risks or uncertainties materialize, or if our underlying assumptions prove to be incorrect, our actual results may vary materially from what we may have expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. We caution that you should not place undue reliance on any of our forward-looking statements.


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PART I
Item 1.        Identity of Directors, Senior Management and Advisers
Not applicable.
Item 2.        Offer Statistics and Expected Timetable
Not applicable.
Item 3.        Key Information
A.    [Removed and Reserved]
B.    Capitalization and indebtedness
Not applicable.
C.    Reasons for the offer and use of proceeds
Not applicable.
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D.    Risk factors
RISK FACTORS
An investment in our Ordinary shares involves a high degree of risk. You should carefully consider the risks and uncertainties described below together with the other information set forth in this Annual Report. If any of the following risks or uncertainties actually occur, our business, financial position and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In such case, the trading price of our Ordinary shares could decline, and you may lose all or part of your investment. Our business, financial condition, prospects, results of operations or cash flows could also be harmed by risks and uncertainties not currently known to us or that we currently do not believe are material. We cannot assure you that any of the events discussed in the risk factors below will not occur. The risks described below are organized by risk type and are not listed in order of their priority to us.
Risks Related to Our Business and Industry
Agricultural Operations Risks:
Adverse weather conditions, natural disasters, crop disease, pests and other natural conditions, including the effects of climate change, can impose significant costs and losses on our business.
Fresh produce is vulnerable to adverse weather conditions, including windstorms, floods, drought and temperature extremes, which are quite common but difficult to predict, the effects of which may be influenced and intensified by ongoing global climate change. Unfavorable growing conditions can reduce both crop size and crop quality. This risk is particularly acute with respect to regions or countries from which we source a significant percentage of our products. In extreme cases, entire harvests may be lost in some geographic areas. In addition, weather patterns may affect consumer demand, creating shortages in key products. For example, we experience an increased demand for salads during summer months, and prolonged warm weather may stress our ability to meet such demand. Conversely, extended bouts of cold or other inclement weather may depress such demand, leading to wasted product. Adverse weather may also impact our supply chains, preventing us from procuring supplies necessary to run our operations and delivering our products to our customers. Effects of climate change, such as outsized weather events and natural disasters may prolong or worsen such impacts. For example, our operations have been adversely impacted by hurricanes in recent years and in the past year we have been monitoring the onset of the El Niño climatic conditions which could disrupt many of our key growing regions in Central and South America. Such adverse conditions can increase costs, decrease revenue and lead to additional charges, which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Fresh produce is also vulnerable to crop disease and to pests, which may vary in severity and effect, depending on the stage of production at the time of infection or infestation, the type of treatment applied, climatic conditions and the risks associated with ongoing global climate change. For example, black sigatoka is a fungal disease that affects banana cultivation in most areas where they are grown commercially.
Tropical Race 4 (“TR4”) may impose significant costs and losses on our business.
We have seen instances of Banana Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 4 (“TR4”), a serious vascular crop disease that affects bananas, in some areas where we source product. TR4 significantly reduces productivity of banana crops and destroys affected banana plants. In the 1950’s, a predecessor disease to TR4, Banana Fusarium Wilt Tropical Race 1 (“TR1”), resulted in the banana industry discontinuing cultivation of the Gros Michel banana, which is susceptible to TR1, and moving to the Cavendish variety. While TR4 is a significant threat to the Cavendish banana, other options currently exist and are being developed. For example, a TR4-tolerant banana variety has been identified and is currently being used in Asia and Australia where TR4 has been present for many years. It is approximately 15-20% less productive than the Cavendish, however, making production costs higher.
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Although we have yet to experience any material impacts to our growing or sourcing operations, we continuously monitor TR4 and make improvements to our existing biosecurity and other prevention strategies. For example, we are conducting site-specific TR4 prevention activities throughout Latin America, in coordination with local authorities and international experts, to contain and prevent spread, using a risk-based mitigation plan. We have also developed contingency plans should TR4 impact our operations at some point, including the potential deployment of conventionally-bred, gene-edited or genetically modified (“GMO”) banana plants more resistant or immune to the disease. Future costs are uncertain and will depend on the extent of any continued spread of the disease. For more information about gene-edited and GMO banana plants, see “Risk Factors—Some of the ingredients that we use in our products contain GMOs and we may in the future need to develop and market GMO products and products containing GMO ingredients based on adverse market conditions.”
We may be unable to prevent TR4’s spread or develop bananas fully resistant to the disease, causing increased costs or decreased revenues, which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Efforts to develop a fully resistant plant may not succeed, but if those efforts do succeed, fruit from fully resistant plants may not be marketable due to consumer preference or government regulation.
We are subject to the risk of product contamination and product liability claims.
The sale of food products for human consumption involves the risk of injury to consumers. Such injuries may result from tampering by unauthorized third parties and quality issues such as product contamination or spoilage, including the presence of foreign objects, substances, chemicals or other agents or residues introduced during the growing, storage, processing, handling or transportation phases. From time-to-time, we have been involved in product liability lawsuits, and we cannot be sure that consumption of our products will not cause a health-related illness in the future, that we will not be subject to claims or lawsuits relating to such matters or that we will not need to initiate recalls of our products in response to the foregoing. In the past, we have initiated recalls, including Class I recalls, for possible contamination of produce with allergens or bacteria, such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria monocytogenes. For example, we issued voluntary recalls in December 2021 and January 2022 and temporarily ceased operations at our facilities in Ohio and Arizona, after packaged salads produced at those facilities were found to have been contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes. Even if a product liability claim is unsuccessful or is not fully pursued, the negative publicity surrounding any assertion that our products caused illness or injury could adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential customers and our corporate and brand image. Moreover, claims or liabilities of this sort might not be covered by our insurance or by any rights of indemnity or contribution that we may have against others. We cannot be sure that we will not incur claims or liabilities for which we are not insured or that exceed the amount of our insurance coverage.
Some of the ingredients that we use in our products contain GMOs and we may in the future need to develop and market GMO products and products containing GMO ingredients based on adverse market conditions.
Some of the ingredients that we use in our products may contain GMOs in varying proportions. The use of GMOs in food has been met with varying degrees of acceptance in the territories in which we operate. Some of such territories, including the United States (“U.S.”), have approved the use of GMOs in food products, and GMO and non-GMO products in such territories are produced together and frequently commingled. Regulations will or may be passed that require labeling of any food with GMO ingredients, such as a regulation that went into effect on January 1, 2022 in the U.S. Such labeling requirements may impact the public perception of products containing such labels. Elsewhere, adverse publicity about genetically modified food has led to governmental regulation limiting sales of GMO products in some of the territories in which we operate, including the EU. It is possible that new restrictions on GMO products will be imposed in major territories for some of our products or that our customers will decide to purchase fewer GMO products or not buy GMO products at all, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
In addition to the GMO ingredients that we currently deploy, we are researching gene-edited products and GMO products and may deploy and market these products in the future based on market demand and need. The success of such deployment will in large part depend on the market acceptance of these products in the areas that we operate. In the future, we may be forced to utilize gene-edited or GMO products in response to adverse market conditions, including disease, climate change or rising costs, if such products are the only viable alternatives. For example, as a result of TR4 spreading into new growing regions, we may need to deploy gene-edited or GMO bananas resistant to the disease to maintain a viable supply of bananas to our key markets. If adverse public opinion about gene-edited or GMO products predominates, we may be unable to sell such products in certain key markets, adversely affecting our business, financial condition and results of operations. For more information about TR4, see “Risk Factors—Tropical Race 4 (“TR4”) may impose significant costs and losses on our business.”
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Our future results of operations may be adversely affected by the availability of organic and non-GMO products and ingredients.
Our ability to ensure a continuing supply of organic and non-GMO products and ingredients at competitive prices depends on many factors beyond our control, such as the number and size of farms that grow organic and non-GMO crops, climate conditions, changes in national and world economic conditions, currency fluctuations and forecasting adequate need of seasonal products and ingredients.
The organic and non-GMO ingredients that we use in the production of our products, including, among others, fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, are vulnerable to adverse weather conditions and natural disasters, such as floods, droughts, water scarcity, temperature extremes, frosts, earthquakes and pestilences. Natural disasters and adverse weather conditions, including the potential effects of climate change, can lower crop yields and reduce crop size and crop quality, which in turn could reduce our supplies of, or increase the prices of, organic or non-GMO ingredients. If our supplies of organic or non-GMO ingredients are reduced, we may not be able to find enough supplemental supply sources on favorable terms, if at all, which could impact our ability to supply product to our customers and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations are influenced by agricultural policies. Changes in these and other comparable programs could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of our operations.
We are affected by governmental agricultural policies such as price supports and acreage set aside programs, and these types of policies may affect our business. The production levels, markets and prices of the grains and other raw products that we use in our business are materially affected by government programs that include acreage control and price support programs, including policies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and similar programs in other jurisdictions. Changes in these and other comparable programs could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of our operations.
Our business is highly competitive, and we cannot assure you that we will maintain our current market share.
We face strong competition from many companies in all of our product lines. Our main competitors in the international banana business include Chiquita Brands International, Fresh Del Monte Produce and Fyffes. The international pineapple and diversified fruit categories have a large number of exporters, importers and cooperatives competing in the sector. Our primary competitor in pineapples is Fresh Del Monte Produce, and our competitors in the diversified fruit category include the South African company, Core Fruit, the Chilean company, Frusan, and the multinational company, Unifrutti. In berries, our competitors include Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Naturipe Farms, California Giant Berry Farms and Well-Pict Berries. In fresh vegetables, we face competition from large grower-shippers in the U.S. and Mexico that supply a significant portion of the U.S. market, with numerous smaller independent distributors also competing. We also face competition from grower cooperatives and local champions in each of our markets.
Some of our most significant competitive risks include the following:
some of our competitors may have greater operating flexibility and, in certain cases, this may permit them to respond better or more quickly to changes in the industry or to introduce new products and packaging more quickly and with greater marketing support;
several of our product lines compete with products sourced from other regions, private label products and other alternatives;
bidding for contracts or arrangements with retail and food service customers is highly competitive, and the prices or other terms of our contract bids may not be sufficient to retain existing business or to maintain current levels of profitability;
existing customers may demand changes in terms of trading which would impact our cash flow and/or profitability;
new competitors can enter or expand into the businesses in which we compete;
we cannot predict the pricing or promotional actions of our competitors or whether those actions will have a negative effect on us; and
global economic conditions or trade disruptions may influence the behavior of our competitors in a manner which may have a negative effect on us.
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There can be no assurance that we will continue to compete effectively with our present and future competitors.
Global Economic and Market Risks:
We are subject to transportation risks.
An extended interruption in our ability to ship our products could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. Similarly, any extended disruption in the distribution of our products could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. We rely on third-party shipping companies to move some of our products overseas, third-party stevedores to load and unload our products at our port locations and third-party trucking companies to transport our products to and from our port locations, and these third parties are therefore a source of transportation risk. While we believe we are adequately insured and would attempt to transport our products by alternative means if we were to experience an interruption due to a strike, natural disaster or otherwise, we cannot be sure that we would be able to do so, or be successful in doing so, in a timely and cost-effective manner.
Our earnings are sensitive to fluctuations in market prices and demand for our products.
Excess supply often causes severe price competition in our businesses. Growing conditions in various parts of the world, particularly weather conditions such as windstorms, fires, floods, droughts and freezes, as well as diseases and pests, are primary factors affecting market prices because of their influence on the supply and quality of products. Additionally, the application of tariffs and restrictions on free trade by nations or trading blocs can impact prices if competitor volumes are diverted into our core markets from markets where we do not compete as strongly.
Although the perishability of fresh produce varies to a certain degree by item (for example, bananas will typically keep fresh in temperature-controlled storage for longer than lettuce), fresh produce is, as a general matter, highly perishable and must be brought to market and sold soon after harvest. The selling price received for each type of produce depends on all of these factors, including the availability and quality of the produce item in the market and the availability and quality of competing types of produce.
In addition, general public perceptions regarding the quality, safety or health risks associated with particular food products could reduce demand and prices for some of our products. To the extent that consumer preferences evolve away from products that we produce for health or other reasons, and we are unable to modify our products or to develop products that satisfy new consumer preferences, there will be a decreased demand for our products. However, even if market prices are unfavorable, produce items which are ready to be, or have been, harvested must be brought to market promptly. A decrease in the selling price received for our products due to the factors described above could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Currency exchange fluctuations may impact the results of our operations.
Some of Dole’s divisions operate in functional currencies other than the U.S. dollar, including the euro, Swedish krona, British pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Czech koruna and Danish krone. Therefore, the results of our operations as expressed in U.S. dollars may be significantly affected by fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. The net assets and results of these divisions are exposed to foreign currency translation gains and losses, which are included as a component of accumulated other comprehensive loss in stockholders’ equity.
We grow, source, import, package, market and distribute over 300 products that are sourced, grown, processed, marketed and distributed in over 30 countries. Our international sales are usually transacted in U.S. dollar and European currencies. Our results of operations are affected by fluctuations in currency exchange rates in both sourcing and selling locations. Although we enter into foreign currency exchange forward contracts from time to time to reduce our risk related to currency exchange fluctuation, our results of operations may still be impacted by foreign currency exchange rates, primarily the euro-to-U.S. dollar, British pound sterling-to-U.S. dollar and Swedish krona-to-U.S. dollar exchange rates. We are also subject to volatility in local sourcing and employee costs, primarily due to the Costa Rican Colón-to-U.S dollar and Chilean peso-to-U.S. dollar exchange rates. In recent years, the euro-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate has been subject to substantial volatility which may continue, particularly in light of recent political events regarding the EU, including the exit of the United Kingdom (the “U.K.”) from the EU and the Ukraine conflict. Because we do not hedge against all of our foreign currency exposure, our business will continue to be susceptible to foreign currency fluctuations.
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Increases in commodity or raw product costs, such as fuel and paper, due to inflation or otherwise, or changes to their availability, could adversely affect our operating results.
In the past, increased costs for purchased fruit and vegetables have negatively impacted our operating results, and there can be no assurance that they will not adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations in the future.
In addition, the price and availability of various commodities can significantly affect our costs. For example, the price of bunker fuel used in shipping operations, including fuel used in ships that we own or charter, is an important variable component of transportation costs. Fuel and transportation costs are a significant component of the price of much of the produce that we purchase from third parties, and there can be no assurance that we will be able to pass on the increased costs we incur in these respects to customers.
The cost and availability of paper is also significant to us, because some of our products are packed in cardboard boxes for shipment. If the price of paper increases, and we are not able to effectively pass these price increases along to our customers, then our operating income will decrease. Similarly, if the availability of paper is affected by increased global demand, our operations could be negatively impacted. Increased costs for paper have in the past negatively impacted our operating results, and there can be no assurance that these increased costs will not adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations in the future.
Global capital and credit market issues could negatively affect our liquidity, increase our costs of borrowing and disrupt the operations of our suppliers and customers.
We depend in part on stable, liquid and well-functioning capital and credit markets to fund our operations. Although we believe that our operating cash flows, access to capital and credit markets and credit facility will permit us to meet our financing needs for the foreseeable future, there can be no assurance that continued or increased volatility and disruption in the capital and credit markets, including rising interest rates and inflation, will not impair our liquidity or increase our costs of borrowing. During the 2023 fiscal year, a series of adverse developments in the financial services industry further contributed to increased volatility in the capital and credit markets. Our business, financial condition and results of operations could also be negatively impacted if our suppliers or customers experience disruptions resulting from tighter capital and credit markets or rising interest rates.
Public health outbreaks, epidemics or pandemics, including the COVID-19 pandemic, have disrupted and may continue to disrupt, our business and could materially affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Events such as the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting worldwide economic conditions have affected, and in the future may continue to affect, our business, financial condition and results of operations.
The COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted the global economy, disrupted global supply chains and created significant volatility and disruption of financial markets. For example, government imposed mandatory closures and restrictions across various key global markets of ours resulted in volatile supply and demand conditions. While these effects were pronounced to varying degrees throughout fiscal years since 2020, the future extent of the impact of events such as the COVID-19 pandemic or other public health outbreaks, on our financial performance, including our ability to execute our strategic initiatives, is uncertain and will depend on future developments, including the duration and spread of this or a similar pandemic, the emergence of new variants, related government restrictions and the success of vaccines and other treatments.
In addition, our ability to continue to supply our products is highly dependent on our workforce, including our workers involved in the growing, harvesting, transportation, processing and distribution of our products. Our ability to maintain the safety of our workforce may be significantly impacted by individuals contracting or being exposed to COVID-19 or similar viruses, and our operations and financial results may be negatively affected as a result. While we continue to follow all governmental health requirements and regulations in the areas in which we operate and continue to take preventative and protective measures to ensure the safety of our workforce, we cannot be certain that these measures will be successful in ensuring the health of our workforce against current or future pandemics. Additional workforce disruptions of this nature may significantly impact our ability to maintain our operations and may adversely affect our financial results.
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The impact of a pandemic on our operating results can also impact our ability to meet our financial obligations. In the event of a continued sustained market deterioration or further delayed recovery, we may need additional liquidity which would require us to evaluate available alternative strategies such as selling assets, restructuring or refinancing our indebtedness or seeking additional equity capital, which strategies could be unsuccessful. In addition, during a pandemic, governments may restrict travel between countries and transportation in general to varying degrees, and this could impact the movement of our goods across international borders.
We face other risks in connection with our international operations.
Our operations are heavily dependent upon products grown, purchased and sold internationally. In addition, our operations significantly contribute to the economies of many of the countries in which we operate, increasing our visibility and susceptibility to legal or regulatory changes. These activities are subject to risks that are inherent in operating in foreign countries, including the following:
foreign countries could change laws and regulations, or impose currency restrictions and other restraints;
the risk that the government may expropriate assets;
the potential imposition or implementation of burdensome tariffs, quotas or customs clearance processes;
political changes and economic crises may lead to changes in the business environment in which we operate;
conflict within a country in which we operate or international conflict, including terrorist acts, could significantly impact our business, financial condition and results of operations;
economic sanctions may be imposed on some countries, which could disrupt the markets for products we sell, even if we do not sell into the target country;
the suspension of imports of one or more products we sell, which could disrupt the markets for those products in other countries;
dependency on leases and other agreements;
global competitive, economic, industry, market, political and regulatory conditions, including economic downturns, political instability and war or civil disturbances that may disrupt production and distribution logistics or limit sales in individual territories;
trade wars between nations in which we do business; and
the difficulty in adhering to various anti-corruption laws and regulations.
Additionally, as a company with international operations, we are subject to economic and trade sanctions laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which we do business, including, as applicable, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU, among others. These laws and regulations may have a broad jurisdictional reach. For instance, our non-U.S. affiliates may be required to comply with the sanctions administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”), depending on the sanctions program involved or the nexus of the non-U.S. affiliate’s activities to the U.S. Economic sanctions typically prohibit or impose restrictions on dealings that involve certain foreign jurisdictions, governments, individuals or entities. Moreover, the goods we sell may be subject to applicable export control laws and regulations, such as the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”) administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security. The EAR generally govern the export, reexport and in-country transfer of items that are subject to the EAR, including U.S.-origin goods. Changes to applicable sanctions or export control laws and regulations could result in decreased use of our products or hinder our ability to export or sell our products to existing or potential customers, which may adversely affect our operating results, financial condition or strategic objectives. If we fail to comply with these laws and regulations, we could be subject to substantial civil or criminal penalties.
Dole has in the past and may in the future engage in the exportation of agricultural commodities pursuant to an OFAC general license or similar licenses under other economic and trade sanctions laws. For example, Dole has exported fruit to distributors located in Iran and in other countries for onward shipment to Iran in reliance on an OFAC general license that authorizes such activities. This general license required Dole to comply with certain conditions with respect to products sold, end-user limitations and payment terms. Although Dole believes it complied with the general license requirements for such sales and will comply with all applicable laws related to any future similar sales should they occur, there can be no assurance that Dole would be deemed by OFAC to have been in compliance. Non-compliance with the general license or other sanctions laws could lead to a finding of a violation, which may result in monetary penalties, reputational harm or other harm to our business.
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Dole is also subject to changes in the approach to tax laws in the countries in which we do business. For example, in December 2023, Ireland transposed the EU Minimum Tax Directive into its national law, thereby implementing a jurisdiction by jurisdiction 15% minimum tax on corporate book income from January 1, 2024. The Company is continuing to assess the potential impact of these new rules.
Terrorism and the uncertainty of war may have an adverse effect on our operating results.
Terrorist attacks and other acts of violence or war in the U.S., the EU or in other countries may affect the markets in which we operate and our operations and profitability. From time to time in the past, our operations or personnel have been the targets of terrorist or criminal attacks, and the risk of such attacks impacts our operations and results in increased security costs. Further terrorist attacks outside the U.S., against the U.S. or against operators of businesses with significant presence or history in the U.S. may occur, or hostilities could develop based on the current international situation. The potential near-term and long-term effect these attacks may have on our business operations, our customers, the markets for our products, including pricing if commodities are shifted from one area of the world to another, the U.S. economy and the economies of other places in which we source or sell our products is uncertain. The consequences of any terrorist attacks, or any armed conflicts, are unpredictable, and we may not be able to foresee events that could have an adverse effect on our markets or our business. Although we do not believe the current conflicts between Ukraine and Russia and Israel and Palestine create a material risk to our business in the near term, we are nonetheless monitoring the conflicts closely and adjusting our business as needed.
The exit by the U.K. from the EU could adversely affect us.
The U.K. formally exited the EU (“Brexit”) on December 31, 2020. The U.K. and the EU reached agreement in principle on the terms of the EU-U.K. Trade and Cooperation Agreement (the “EU-U.K. Agreement”), which became provisionally applicable on January 1, 2021 and covers economic and security co-operation between the two, has a single overarching governance framework, and covers a wide range of topics, including trade in goods and in services. The scope of the EU-U.K. Agreement is narrower than the pre-Brexit trade framework, and the effects of Brexit will depend in part on any further agreements the U.K. makes to retain access to the EU or to compensate elsewhere with agreements with other global markets. Accordingly, Brexit could adversely affect U.K. and European market conditions, could contribute to instability in some global financial and foreign exchange markets, including continued volatility in the value of the British pound sterling, require the U.K. to establish or renegotiate trade relationships with other countries or otherwise adversely affect trading agreements or similar cross-border cooperation arrangements (whether economic, tax, legal, regulatory or otherwise).
The long-term effects of Brexit still remain uncertain. Any change in economic, trade or tariff policy could adversely affect our business, business opportunities, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows.
Financial and Management Risks:
We may be unable to service our debt with our current or expected cash flows and such debt may limit our flexibility and ability to pursue additional financing. In addition, financial covenants and other restrictions within our existing debt agreements may impact our ability to operate our business.
Our ability to make scheduled payments of the principal of, to pay interest on or to refinance our indebtedness, depends on our future performance, which is subject to economic, financial, competitive and other factors beyond our control, including those described in this “Risk Factors” section and elsewhere in this document. Our business may not generate sufficient cash flow from operations to service our debt and make necessary capital expenditures. If we are unable to generate such cash flow, we may be required to adopt one or more alternatives, such as selling assets, restructuring debt or obtaining additional financing on terms that may be onerous or highly dilutive. Our ability to refinance our indebtedness will depend on the capital markets and our financial condition at such time. We may not be able to engage in any of these activities or engage in these activities on desirable terms, which could result in a default on our debt obligations. In addition, financial covenants and other restrictions within our existing debt agreements may impact our ability to operate our business. See Note 14 “Debt” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the Company’s indebtedness.
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Certain of our defined benefit pension plans are currently underfunded, and we may have to make significant cash payments to the plans, which would reduce the cash available for our business.
We have underfunded obligations under certain of our benefit plans. The funded status of our benefit plans is dependent upon many factors, including returns on any invested assets, actuarial assumptions, including the level of certain market interest rates and the discount rate used to determine pension obligations. Unfavorable returns on the plan assets, or unfavorable changes in applicable laws or regulations, could materially change the timing and amount of required plan funding, which would reduce the cash available for our business. In addition, a decrease in the discount rate used to determine pension obligations could result in an increase in the valuation of our benefit plans obligations, which could affect the reported funding status of our benefit plans and future contributions, as well as the periodic pension cost in subsequent fiscal years. The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), as amended, along with certain provisions of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (the “Code”), require minimum funding contributions to our tax-qualified U.S. defined benefit pension plan. See Note 15 “Employee Benefit Plans” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the Company’s pension plans.
The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (the “PBGC”) has the authority to petition a court to terminate an underfunded tax-qualified pension plan under limited circumstances. In the event our U.S. tax-qualified defined benefit pension plan is terminated by the PBGC, we could be liable to the PBGC for the entire amount of the underfunding, as calculated by the PBGC based on its own assumptions, which might result in a larger obligation than that based on the assumptions we have used to fund such plan.
The European defined benefit plans are also subject to local regulators such as the Irish Pensions Authority and U.K.’s Pension Regulator. The Company has two defined benefit plans in Ireland, two U.K. defined benefit plans and one in Canada. Each of these is subject to local funding requirements and the powers of local regulators such as the Irish Pensions Authority and the U.K.’s Pension Regulator. The U.K.’s Pension Regulator has the power in certain circumstances to impose a debt or contribution demand on an employer to the extent that a defined benefit scheme is underfunded. There is currently no legislation in Ireland equivalent to that in the U.K. We also have underfunded obligations under plans in Latin America which may be subject to funding requirements set by local regulations.
We expect to expand our business, in part, through future acquisitions, but we may not be able to identify or complete suitable acquisitions, which could harm our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our business strategy includes growth through the acquisitions of other businesses. We continually review, evaluate and consider potential acquisitions. In such evaluations, we are required to make difficult judgments regarding the value of business opportunities and the related risks and cost of potential liabilities. We plan to use acquisitions of companies to expand our geographic coverage, add experienced management and increase our product offerings. We may not be able to continue to identify attractive acquisition opportunities or successfully acquire identified targets. In addition, we may not be successful in integrating our current or future acquisitions which may result in unforeseen operational difficulties or diminished financial performance or require a disproportionate amount of our management’s attention. Even if we are successful in integrating our current or future acquisitions into our existing operations, we may not derive the benefits, such as operational or administrative synergies, that we expected from such acquisitions, which may result in the investment of our capital resources without realizing the expected returns on such investment. Furthermore, competition for acquisition opportunities may increase our cost of making further acquisitions or cause us to refrain from making additional acquisitions. We also may be limited in our ability to incur additional indebtedness in connection with or to fund future acquisitions under the Credit Agreement. In addition, although we have dedicated in-house personnel whose primary role is to focus on acquisitions, the time and effort involved in attempting to identify acquisition candidates and consummate acquisitions may divert members of our management from the operations of our company.
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We may be required to recognize impairment charges for our goodwill and other intangible assets, which could materially and adversely affect our business and results of operations.
From various business combinations, material amounts of purchase consideration have been allocated to goodwill and certain intangible assets that have indefinite lives. Most significantly, the acquisition of Dole Food Company in July of 2021 resulted in approximately $273.3 million of allocated goodwill and $306.3 million allocated to the DOLE brand. Goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets are tested at least annually for impairment. According to our fiscal year 2023 annual assessment, two of our reporting units and the DOLE brand were at risk of future impairment. Adverse changes in economic conditions leading to higher costs of capital or projected future cash flows could materially affect the results of future assessments. In such case, we may be required to recognize impairment charges for our goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets, which could have a material impact on our results of operations. See “Item 5E. Critical Accounting Estimates-Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets” and Note 13 “Goodwill and Intangible Assets” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the impairment tests of goodwill and other indefinite-lived intangible assets.
We depend on certain key customers and are subject to risks if such key customers reduce the amount of products they purchase from us or terminate their relationships with us.
In certain regions our customer base is concentrated among a small number of large, key customers. If we fail to maintain our relationships with such customers and such customers terminate their relationship or otherwise reduce the amount of products they purchase from us below our expectations, we could suffer adverse effects on our business, business opportunities, results of operations, financial condition and cash flows. See Note 2 “Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on customer concentration risk.
We typically extend credit to our key customers. Failure to collect trade receivables, untimely collection or customer defaults could adversely affect our liquidity.
We extend credit to certain of our key customers. Generally, our customers will pay within the credit period, however, customer illiquidity may cause repayment to fall outside the credit period or not at all. We perform ongoing credit evaluations of our customers’ financial condition and manage the risk based on experience, customers’ track record and historic default rates. If we encounter future problems collecting amounts due from our customers, particularly customers with a large amount of credit outstanding, or if we experience delays or customer default in the collection of amounts due, our liquidity could be adversely affected. See Note 8 “Receivables and Allowances for Credit Losses” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on receivables outstanding.
A portion of our workforce is unionized, and labor disruptions could decrease our profitability.
Part of the Company’s full-time employees worldwide work under various collective bargaining agreements and unionized workforces. We cannot give assurance that we will be able to negotiate these or other collective bargaining agreements on the same or more favorable terms as the current agreements, or at all, and without production interruptions, including labor stoppages. A prolonged labor dispute, which could include a work stoppage, could have an adverse effect on the portion of our business affected by the dispute, which could adversely impact our business, financial condition and results of operations. See Note 15 “Employee Benefit Plans” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on workforce under various collective bargaining agreements and unionized workforces.
Adverse perception, events or rumors relating to our brand could negatively impact our business.
Consumer and institutional recognition of our trademarks and related brands, and the association of these brands with high-quality and safe food products, are an integral part of our business. The occurrence of any events or rumors that cause consumers and/or institutions to no longer associate these brands with high-quality and safe food products may materially and adversely affect the value of our brand names and demand for our products. We have licensed and will continue to license the Total Produce and DOLE brand name to several affiliated and unaffiliated companies for use in the U.S. and abroad. In addition, we sold the use of the DOLE brand in Asia, Australia and New Zealand for fresh fruit, worldwide for certain shelf-stable packaged food products and worldwide for certain juice products. Acts or omissions by these companies, over which we have limited or no control, may also have such adverse effects.
In addition, sustainability credentials and goals are an increasingly important factor in stakeholders’ perceptions of a company. Should we not meet the expectations of our stakeholders or communicate our work in this area sufficiently this may negatively impact our reputation.
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An interruption at one or more of our manufacturing facilities could negatively affect our business, and our business continuity plan may prove inadequate.
We own or lease, manage and operate a number of manufacturing, processing, packaging, storage and office facilities. We could be rendered unable to accept and fulfill customer orders as a result of disasters, pandemics, business interruptions or other similar events. Some of our inventory and manufacturing facilities are located in areas that are susceptible to harsh weather, and the production of certain of our products is concentrated in a few geographic areas. In addition, we store chemicals used in our business, and our storage of these chemicals could lead to risk of leaks, explosions or other events. Although we have business continuity plans, we cannot provide assurance that our business continuity plan will address all of the issues we may encounter in the event of a disaster or other unanticipated issue. Our business interruption insurance may not adequately compensate us for losses that may occur from any of the foregoing. In the event that a natural disaster, or other catastrophic event, were to destroy any part of any of our facilities or interrupt our operations for any extended period of time, or if harsh weather or epidemics prevent us from delivering products in a timely manner, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be materially and adversely affected. In addition, if we fail to maintain our labor force at one or more of our facilities, we could experience delays in production or delivery of our products, which could also have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
If we lose the services of our key management, our business could suffer.
We depend to a significant extent on the continued service of our key executives, and our continued growth depends on our ability to identify, recruit and retain key management personnel. We are also dependent on our ability to continue to attract, retain and motivate our personnel. We do not typically carry key person life insurance on our executive officers. If we lose the services of our key management or fail to identify, recruit and retain key personnel, our business, financial condition or results of operations may be materially and adversely impacted.
We are dependent on our relationships with key suppliers to obtain a number of our products.
We depend on key suppliers to obtain a number of our products. Termination of our relationship with our key suppliers could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations. Additionally, we may enter into seasonal purchase agreements committing us to purchase fixed quantities of produce at fixed prices. We may suffer losses arising from the inability to sell these committed quantities and/or achieve the committed price. We also provide grower loans and advances to suppliers with various levels of security, and we may suffer losses if these loans are not repaid. Any of these factors could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Regulatory and Legal Risks:
Failure to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations can result in requirements to cease noncompliant operations, incurrence of additional capital or operating expenses to correct violations, or the assessment of significant fines and penalties.
Compliance with environmental laws, including those related to the handling, use, generation, transport, and disposal of hazardous materials is inherent in major agricultural operations, including those conducted by us. Compliance with these foreign and domestic laws and related regulations is an ongoing process, and these laws and regulations are frequently revised and generally become stricter over time. Failure to comply with applicable laws and regulations can result in requirements to cease noncompliant operations, incurrence of additional capital or operating expenses to correct violations, or the assessment of significant fines and penalties. While we believe that we are generally in material compliance with applicable laws and regulations, there can be no assurance that the cost of compliance with environmental laws and regulations will not, in the future, have a material effect on our capital expenditures, earnings or competitive position. It is possible that future developments, such as increasingly strict environmental laws and enforcement policies thereunder, including those driven by concerns about climate change and further restrictions on the use of agricultural chemicals, could result in increased compliance costs which may be material.
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We may be subject to liability and/or increased costs for environmental damage from the use of herbicides, pesticides and other potentially hazardous substances or environmental contamination of our current and previously owned or leased property.
We use herbicides, pesticides and other potentially hazardous substances in the operation of our business. We may have to pay for the costs or damages associated with any improper application, accidental release or the use or misuse of such substances. Our insurance may not be adequate to cover such costs or damages or may not continue to be available at a price or under terms that are satisfactory to us. In such cases, payment of such costs or damages could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.
Certain environmental laws, including the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act in the U.S., impose strict and, in many cases, joint and several, liability for the cost of remediating contamination, on current and former owners of property or on persons responsible for causing such contamination. Dole has been in the past involved in remedial investigations and actions at some locations, and we could in the future be required to spend significant sums to remediate contamination that has been caused by us, our predecessors, or prior owners or operators of our properties. An adverse result in any potential future matter could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. See Note 19 “Contingencies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the Company’s environmental-related contingencies.
We face risks related to our former use of the pesticide DBCP.
Dole formerly used DBCP (1,2- dibromo-3-chloropropane), a nematicide that was used on a variety of crops throughout the world. The registration for DBCP with the U.S. government was cancelled, with limited exceptions, in 1979 based in part on an apparent link to male sterility among chemical factory workers who produced DBCP. There are a number of pending lawsuits in the U.S. and other countries against the manufacturers of DBCP and certain growers, including Dole, who used DBCP in the past. The cost to defend or settle these lawsuits, and the costs to pay any judgments or settlements resulting from these lawsuits, or other lawsuits which might be brought, could have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations.

Overall tightening of the labor market, increases in labor costs or any possible labor unrest may adversely affect our business and results of operations.
Our business requires a substantial amount of labor. Any failure to retain stable and dedicated labor by us may disrupt our business operations. Although we have not experienced any material labor shortage to date, we have observed an overall tightening and increasingly competitive labor market in some of the countries in which we operate. We compete with other companies in our industry and other labor-intensive industries for labor, and we may not be able to offer competitive remuneration and benefits compared to them. If we are unable to manage and control our labor costs, our business, financial condition and results of operations may be affected.
Changes in immigration laws could impact the availability of labor to harvest our products and operate our salad manufacturing plants, or the availability of produce purchased from third party suppliers.
The personnel engaged in our harvesting operations may include significant numbers of immigrants who are authorized to work in the host county in which we operate. More specifically, immigrants who are authorized to work in the U.S. also make up a portion of the workforce at our U.S. salad manufacturing plants. The availability and number of these workers could decrease if there are changes in immigration laws in the U.S. and other countries in which we operate. A scarcity of available personnel to harvest agricultural products in these countries could increase our labor costs, increase our product costs or lead to product shortages, therefore adversely impacting our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Climate change laws could have an impact on our financial condition and results of operations.
Legislative and regulatory authorities in the U.S., the EU, Canada and other jurisdictions internationally will likely continue to consider numerous measures related to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. In order to produce, manufacture and distribute our products, we and our suppliers use fuels, electricity and various other inputs that result in the release of greenhouse gas emissions. Concerns about the environmental impacts of greenhouse gas emissions and global climate change may result in environmental taxes, charges, regulatory schemes or assessments or penalties, which could restrict or negatively impact our operations, as well as those of our suppliers, who would likely pass all or a portion of their costs along to us. We may not be able to pass any resulting cost increases along to our customers. Any enactment of laws or passage of regulations regarding greenhouse gas emissions or other climate change laws by the U.S., the EU, Canada or any other international jurisdiction where we conduct business, such as the EU Emissions Trading System (“ETS”), could materially and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Our operations and products are highly regulated in the areas of food safety and protection of human health and the environment.
Our operations are subject to a broad range of foreign, federal, state and local environmental, health and safety laws and regulations, including laws and regulations governing the use and disposal of pesticides and other chemicals, all of which involve compliance costs. These regulations directly affect day-to-day operations and, to maintain compliance with all of the laws and regulations that apply to our operations, we have been and may be required in the future to modify our operations, purchase new equipment or make capital improvements. Changes to our processes and procedures could require us to incur unanticipated costs and/or materially impact our business. Violations of these laws and regulations can result in substantial fines, penalties or sanctions. In some circumstances, we may recall a product, voluntarily or otherwise, if we or the regulators believe it presents a potential risk. There can be no assurance that these modifications and improvements and any fines, penalties and recalls would not have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations. In addition, we have been and, in the future, may become subject to lawsuits alleging that our operations and products caused personal injury or property damage.
As a producer and distributor of food products, we are subject to the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions where our facilities are located and where our products are distributed. In particular, in the U.S. we are subject to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Food Safety Modernization Act (“FSMA”), which is enforced by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The FDA has the authority to regulate the growing, harvesting, manufacturing, including composition and ingredients, processing, labeling, packaging import, distribution and marketing and safety of food in the U.S. The FSMA, enacted in January 2011, significantly enhances the FDA’s authority over various aspects of food regulation. For example, the FSMA granted the FDA mandatory recall authority when the FDA determines there is a reasonable probability that a food is adulterated or misbranded and that the use of, or exposure to, the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals. The FDA has been active in implementing the requirements of the FSMA through issuance of regulations designed to result in a reduction of the risk of contamination in food manufacturing and in beginning compliance enforcement of those regulations, such as the Foreign Supplier Verification program. The full impact of the FDA’s compliance protocols continues to evolve, and we cannot assure you that it will not materially impact our business. Regulatory agencies in other jurisdictions have similar authority to address the risk of contamination or adulteration and to require that contaminated products be removed from the market.
Within the EU, food safety policy is governed by the Farm to Fork Strategy which regulates food safety at all stages of the production and distribution process for all food products marketed within the EU, whether produced within the EU or imported from third countries. This body of legislation forms a complex and integrated system of rules covering the entire food chain, from animal feed and health, through plant protection and food production, to processing, storage, transport, import and export and retail sales. A framework regulation called the General Food Law Regulation (EC No. 178/2002) lays down the general principles and requirements of food law. European Member States are required to implement European food safety law at a national level. National authorities and food agencies are responsible for enforcement and ensuring compliance within European Member States. National authorities may withdraw or recall food from the market if it is considered to be injurious to health or unfit for human consumption. Where food presents a serious risk to human health, animal health or the environment, the European Commission can put in place protective measures and suspend the placing on the market or use of products originating from the EU or suspend imports of products originating from non-EU countries.
The European Green Deal sets out to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. The EU’s Farm to Fork Strategy is an integral part of the Green Deal and aims to address the challenges of sustainable food systems. The shift to a sustainable food system could result in increased costs associated with compliance with new laws and regulations.
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The failure to comply with these laws and regulations in any jurisdiction, or to obtain required approvals, could result in fines, as well as a ban or temporary suspension on the production of our products or limit or bar their distribution, and affect our development of new products, and thus could materially adversely affect our business and operating results. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (the “USDA”) regulates the import and export of certain fruits and vegetables into and from the U.S., and the USDA also imposes growing, manufacturing and certification requirements for certain products labeled with organic claims. Similarly, the EU maintains a system of control, certification and enforcement to guarantee that food which is marketed as organic complies with organic standards. Organic food imported into the EU is also subject to control procedures to guarantee that they have been produced and shipped in accordance with organic principles. Failure to obtain necessary permits or otherwise comply with USDA and European regulations and requirements could result in a ban or temporary suspension of the import or export of our products into or from the U.S., or our ability to grow, manufacture or market our products as organic, and thus could materially adversely affect our business. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and other Canadian governmental departments, could enforce laws such as the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations in such a way as to cause significant disruption to our Canadian business, including for example, requirements relating to import licenses, traceability, organic certification and food testing requirements.
We are subject to the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws or trade control laws, as well as other laws governing our operations. If we fail to comply with these laws, we could be subject to civil or criminal penalties, other remedial measures, and legal expenses, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We are subject to anti-corruption laws, including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), Irish anti-corruption laws, including the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Act 2018, Proceeds of Crime Acts 1996 – 2016, the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act 2001, U.K. Bribery Act 2010, and other anti-corruption laws that apply in countries where we do business. The FCPA, U.K. Bribery Act and these other laws generally prohibit us and intermediaries from bribing, being bribed or making other prohibited payments to government officials or other persons to obtain or retain business or gain some other business advantage. We operate in a number of jurisdictions, some of which may pose a high risk of potential FCPA violations, and we participate in joint ventures and relationships with third parties whose actions could potentially subject us to liability under the FCPA or local anti-corruption laws. In addition, we cannot predict the nature, scope or effect of future regulatory requirements to which our international operations might be subject or the manner in which existing laws might be administered or interpreted.
We are subject to anti-trust laws such as EU competition law. Failure to comply with such regulations could adversely impact our reputation, business and results of operations. It could also result in material fines for the Company.
We are also subject to other laws and regulations governing our international operations, including regulations administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control and various non-U.S. government entities, including applicable export control regulations, economic sanctions on countries and persons, customs requirements, currency exchange regulations and transfer pricing regulations or collectively, “Trade Control laws.”
There is no assurance that we will be completely effective in ensuring our compliance with all applicable anticorruption laws, including the FCPA or other legal requirements, including Trade Control laws. If we are not in compliance with the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws or Trade Control laws, we may be subject to criminal and civil penalties, disgorgement and other sanctions and remedial measures, and legal expenses, which could have an adverse impact on our business, financial condition, results of operations and liquidity. Likewise, any investigation of any potential violations of the FCPA other anti-corruption laws or Trade Control laws by U.S. or foreign authorities could also have an adverse impact on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
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Litigation and regulatory enforcement concerning marketing and labeling of food products could adversely affect our business and reputation.
The marketing and labeling of any food product in recent years has brought increased risk that consumers will bring class action lawsuits, and that the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”), and/or state attorneys general will bring legal action concerning the truth and accuracy of the marketing and labeling of the product. Examples of causes of action that may be asserted in a consumer class action lawsuit include fraud, unfair trade practices and breach of state consumer protection statutes, such as Proposition 65 in California. FTC and/or state attorneys general may bring legal action that seeks removal of a product from the marketplace and imposes fines and penalties. Even when not merited, class claims, action by the FTC or state attorneys general enforcement actions can be expensive to defend and adversely affect our reputation with existing and potential customers and consumers and our corporate and brand image, which could have a material and adverse effect on our business, financial condition or results of operations. The labeling of our products, and their distribution and marketing, is also subject to regulation by governmental authorities in each jurisdiction where our products are marketed, such as, in the EU, under Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labeling of organic products, Directive (EU) 2019/2161 on consumer protection rules, Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers and Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 on nutrition and health claims made on foods. For example, the USDA requires compliance with certain growing production and certification requirements as a condition to labeling foods with the word “organic” or with the USDA organic seal. A failure to comply with such labeling requirements could result in enforcement proceedings in the relevant jurisdiction that could materially affect our marketing and distribution.
We are the subject of a number of legal proceedings, investigations and inquiries that could have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations, and could result in additional claims.
We have been or are currently the subject of a number of legal proceedings and civil and criminal investigations and inquiries by governmental agencies, including matters related to DBCP use in the past, product safety and health, product recalls, environmental property damage (such as proceedings related to a housing development in the City of Carson, California) and tax disputes. See Note 19 “Contingencies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information regarding matters related to DBCP use and proceedings related to a housing development in the City of Carson, California. See also “Risk Factors —We face risks related to our former use of the pesticide DBCP.” We are unable to predict how long such proceedings, investigations and inquiries will continue or the full scope of such investigations, but we anticipate that we will continue to incur significant costs in connection with these matters and that these proceedings, investigations and inquiries will result in a substantial distraction of management’s time, regardless of the outcome. These proceedings, investigations and inquiries may result in damages, fines, penalties, consent orders or other administrative action against us and/or certain of our officers, or in changes to our business practices, and any such fines or penalties could be greater than we currently anticipate. Furthermore, publicity surrounding these proceedings, investigations and inquiries or any enforcement action as a result thereof, even if ultimately resolved favorably for us, could result in additional investigations and legal proceedings. As a result, these proceedings, investigations and inquiries could have an adverse effect on our reputation, business, financial condition and results of operations.
Technology and Intellectual Property (“IP”) Risks:
Social media play an increasing role in brand and company image perception.
The inappropriate use of certain media could cause brand damage or information leakage. Negative posts or comments about us or our products on any social network, article, blog or website could seriously damage our reputation. In addition, the disclosure of non-public, sensitive company information through external media channels could lead to information loss. Any business interruptions or damage to our reputation could negatively impact our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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We are subject to risks relating to our handling of information, operation of our information systems, and the information systems of third parties.
We rely on information technology networks and systems to process, transmit, store, and manage data, and to manage and support a variety of critical business processes and operations. If we do not develop, manage, maintain and secure our information technology systems appropriately, or do not effectively implement system upgrades, system migrations, or manage third-party service providers, our business or financial results could be adversely impacted. The cyber threat landscape is growing increasingly complex and rapidly evolving, particularly in light of growing geopolitical tensions. Sophisticated cybersecurity threats present potential risk to the security of our information technology networks and systems, as well as the confidentiality, availability, and integrity of the data processed, transmitted, and stored on those networks and systems. Cybersecurity incidents may result in unauthorized access to intellectual property, trade secrets or confidential business information that are stored in electronic formats. We have in the past experienced, and may in the future face, cybersecurity incidents. In February of 2023, we were the victim of a sophisticated ransomware incident involving unauthorized access to employee information. Upon detecting the incident, we promptly took steps to contain the incident, retained the services of leading third-party cybersecurity experts and notified law enforcement. The February 2023 incident had a limited impact on our operations. See “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review Prospects” for further detail on the impact of the 2023 cybersecurity incident on the Company’s operating results.
Our information technology networks and systems, some of which rely on third-party service providers, may experience operational impact, including to the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of our networks and systems, and the information residing therein, due to various causes, including intentional hacking, security breaches, intrusions, malware, denial of service attacks, phishing, or other cybersecurity incidents, as well as natural disasters, catastrophic events, power outages, or human error or malfeasance. If we are unable to prevent or adequately respond to and resolve these disruptions or failures, our operations may be impacted and any unauthorized access to, or acquisition of, customer, employee, or other confidential information could result in adverse consequences such as reputational damage, premature termination or reduction of existing contracts, reduction of operating revenue, remediation costs, ransomware payments, litigation or penalties under various laws and regulations. Our customers could also refuse to continue to do business with us and prematurely terminate or reduce existing contracts, resulting in a significant reduction of our operating revenue. Additionally, if a third-party service provider on which we rely experiences a cybersecurity incident, we may not learn of such incident in a timely manner, or at all, which may inhibit our ability to mitigate its impacts, and can exacerbate the risks described in this risk factor.
As cybersecurity incidents are becoming increasingly sophisticated and more frequent, our preventative measures and incident response efforts may not be entirely effective. We have invested in security safeguards to reduce the risks to our networks, systems, and data, but there is no assurance that our efforts will prevent or timely detect cybersecurity incidents or disruptions. While we have procedures to assess and manage relationships with third-party service providers, there is similarly no assurance that they will not be subject to a cybersecurity incident or disruption that has an impact on our networks, systems, or data. Future cybersecurity incidents or disruptions to us, or our third-party service providers, could result in a material impact to our operations, systems, or financial results.
We are also subject to a dynamic landscape of laws and regulations governing the handling of information and the operation of information systems, including those relating to privacy, cybersecurity and data protection, in a range of jurisdictions. Costs associated with compliance with these laws and regulations may increase over time and impact how we collect, handle and process information and operate our information systems, including in ways that may impact the day-to-day operation of our business. Failure to comply with these obligations could result in investigations, litigation, fines, penalties, judgments or other proceedings which could have a material impact on our financial results. See “Item 16K. Cybersecurity” for further detail on the Company’s policies and procedures on cybersecurity.
Technological innovation by our competitors could make our food products less competitive.
Our competitors include other fresh fruit and vegetable producers and major food ingredient and consumer-packaged food companies that also engage in the development and sale of food and food ingredients. Many of these companies are engaged in the development of new plant varieties, food ingredients and other food products and frequently introduce new products into the market. Existing products or products under development by our competitors could prove to be more effective, more resistant to disease or less costly than our products, which could have an adverse effect on the competitiveness of our products and adversely affect our business, financial condition and results of operations.
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We rely on protection of our intellectual property and proprietary rights.
Our success depends in part on our ability to protect our intellectual property rights. We rely primarily on patent, copyright, trademark and trade secret laws to protect our proprietary technologies. Our policy is to protect our technology by, among other things, filing patent applications for technology relating to the development of our business in the U.S., the EU and in selected foreign jurisdictions. Our trademarks and brand names are registered in jurisdictions throughout the world. We intend to keep these filings current and seek protection for new trademarks to the extent consistent with business needs. We also rely on trade secrets and proprietary knowledge and confidentiality agreements to protect certain of the technologies and processes that we use. The failure of any patents, trademarks, trade secrets or other intellectual property rights to provide protection to our technologies would make it easier for our competitors to offer similar products, which could adversely affect our business, financial conditions and results of operations.
Risks Related to Strategic Transactions:
Optimizing our operations may be more difficult, costly or time-consuming than expected and the anticipated benefits and cost savings of the Merger may not be realized.
Historically, Total Produce and Legacy Dole operated independently. The future success of Dole plc, including the anticipated benefits and cost savings, depends, in part, on our ability to optimize our operations. The optimization of our operations is a complex, costly and time-consuming process and if we experience difficulties in this process, the anticipated benefits may not be realized fully or at all, or may take longer to realize than expected, which could have an adverse effect on us for an undetermined period. In addition, there is no guarantee that once such process has been completed, we will operate in a manner that is more efficient, organized, effective and competitive as a whole than Legacy Dole and Total Produce operated as separate companies such that we will successfully realize the expected operating efficiencies, cost savings and other benefits currently anticipated.
We are also incurring costs related to the optimization of our operations, including facilities and systems consolidation costs and employment-related costs. We may also incur other costs, such as maintaining employee morale and retaining key employees. We continue to assess the magnitude of these costs, and additional unanticipated costs may be incurred in the optimization of our operations.
The operational synergies realized as a result of the Merger may vary from expectations.
Although we do not anticipate materially changing the divisional structure of Total Produce and Legacy Dole and, as a result, do not expect material organizational synergies between these two businesses, we do anticipate achieving material operational synergies as the divisions work together under one combined company, such as supply chain and production related synergies. We may, however, fail to realize these anticipated benefits or they may be less significant than expected, which could adversely affect our business, financial condition or results of operations. The success of the Merger will depend, in significant part, on our ability to successfully manage the businesses of Total Produce and Legacy Dole, grow the revenue of the combined company and realize the anticipated strategic benefits and expected operational synergies from the Merger referenced above. The work needed to realize these benefits could take longer than anticipated and could result in the loss of key employees, the disruption of each company’s ongoing businesses, tax costs, inefficiencies or inconsistencies in standards, controls, information technology systems, procedures and policies, any of which could adversely affect our ability to maintain relationships with customers, employees or other third parties or our ability to achieve the anticipated benefits of the Merger and could harm our financial performance.
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The planned sale of our Fresh Vegetables division is subject to various risks and uncertainties and may not be completed in a timely manner on terms favorable to the Company, or at all.
On January 30, 2023, certain of our wholly owned subsidiaries entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement (the “Fresh Express Agreement”) with Fresh Express Acquisitions LLC (“Fresh Express”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Chiquita Holdings Limited (“Chiquita”), pursuant to which Fresh Express agreed to acquire our Fresh Vegetables division for approximately $293.0 million in cash, subject to certain adjustments set forth in the Fresh Express Agreement. On March 27, 2024, the parties to the Fresh Express Agreement agreed to terminate the Fresh Express agreement due to a failure to obtain regulatory approval. We remain committed, however, to exiting the Fresh Vegetables business through an alternative process, which is currently underway (the “Vegetables exit process”). The completion of any transactions resulting from the Vegetables exit process may be subject to the satisfaction or waiver of certain customary conditions, such as, among others, the expiration or termination of any applicable waiting periods under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, the absence of any governmental order prohibiting a transaction, and further conditions not currently contemplated, and we may be unable to satisfy any such conditions in a timely manner or at all, and, if such conditions are not satisfied or waived, any such transaction may be delayed or may not be completed at all.
The pendency of our decision to exit the Fresh Vegetables business may adversely affect our relationships with customers, operating results and business generally. If the Vegetables exit process is delayed or not completed for any reason, investor confidence may decline, and we may face negative publicity and possible litigation.
Failure to complete the Vegetables exit process would adversely affect our plans to use proceeds from the disposal primarily for debt reduction as currently expected. In addition, we will have expended significant management resources in an effort to exit the business and have incurred transaction costs. Failure to complete the Vegetables exit process could also result in significant management time and attention on the strategic future of the fresh vegetables division and away from other divisions and overall company strategy.














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Risks Related to the Ordinary Shares in Dole plc
Securities and Reporting Risks:
There can be no assurance that we will not be a passive foreign investment company for U.S. federal income tax purposes for any taxable year, which could subject U.S. investors in our Ordinary shares to significant adverse U.S. income tax consequences.
A non-U.S. corporation, such as our company, will be classified as a passive foreign investment company (“PFIC”) for any taxable year if either (i) at least 75% of its gross income for such year consists of certain types of “passive” income, or (ii) at least 50% of the value of its assets (generally determined on the basis of a quarterly average) during such year is attributable to assets that produce passive income or are held for the production of passive income. Based on the current and anticipated value of our assets and composition of our income and assets, we do not presently expect to be a PFIC for the current taxable year or the foreseeable future.
However, while we do not expect to be or become a PFIC, no assurance can be given in this regard because the determination of whether we are or will become a PFIC for any taxable year is a fact-intensive determination made annually that depends, in part, upon the composition and classification of our income and assets.
If we were to be or become a PFIC for any taxable year during which a U.S. Holder (as defined in “United States Federal Income Tax Considerations”) holds our Ordinary shares, certain adverse U.S. federal income tax consequences could apply to such U.S. Holder.
U.S. investors may have difficulty enforcing judgments against us, our directors and executive officers.
We are incorporated under the laws of Ireland, and our registered offices and a substantial portion of our assets are located outside of the U.S. As a result, it may not be possible to effect service of process on such persons or us in the U.S. or to enforce judgments obtained in courts in the U.S. against such persons or us based on civil liability provisions of the securities laws of the U.S.
There is no treaty between Ireland and the U.S. providing for the reciprocal enforcement of judgments obtained in the other jurisdiction, and Irish common law rules govern the process by which a U.S. judgment may be enforced in Ireland. The following requirements must be met as a precondition before a U.S. judgment will be eligible for enforcement in Ireland:
the judgment must be for a definite sum;
the judgment must be final and conclusive, and the decree must be final and enforceable in the court which pronounces it;
the judgment must be provided by a court of competent jurisdiction, and the procedural rules of the court giving the foreign judgment must have been observed;
the U.S. court must have had jurisdiction in relation to the particular defendant according to Irish conflict of law rules; and
jurisdiction must be obtained by the Irish courts over judgment debtors in enforcement proceedings by service in Ireland or outside Ireland in accordance with the applicable court rules in Ireland.
Even if the above requirements have been met, an Irish court may exercise its right to refuse to enforce the U.S. judgment if the Irish court is satisfied that the judgment (1) was obtained by fraud; (2) is in contravention of Irish public policy; (3) is in breach of natural or constitutional justice; or (4) is irreconcilable with an earlier judgment. By way of example, a judgment of a U.S. court of liabilities predicated upon U.S. federal securities laws may not be enforced by Irish courts on the grounds of public policy if that U.S. judgment includes an award of punitive damages. Further, an Irish court may stay proceedings if concurrent proceedings are being brought elsewhere.
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Our Articles of Association contain exclusive forum provisions for certain claims, which could limit our shareholders’ ability to obtain a favorable judicial forum for disputes with us or our directors, officers or employees.
Our Articles of Association provide that, unless we consent in writing to the selection of another forum, the federal district courts of the United States of America will, to the fullest extent permitted by law, be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Securities Act (the “Federal Forum Provision”). Moreover, Section 22 of the Securities Act creates concurrent jurisdiction for federal and state courts over all claims brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act or the rules and regulations thereunder. Our decision to adopt the Federal Forum Provision followed a decision by the Supreme Court of the State of Delaware holding that such provisions are facially valid under Delaware law. While there can be no assurance that federal or state courts will follow the holding of the Delaware Supreme Court or determine that the Federal Forum Provision should be enforced in a particular case, application of the Federal Forum Provision means that suits brought by our shareholders to enforce any duty or liability created by the Securities Act must be brought in federal court and cannot be brought in state court.
Section 27 of the Exchange Act creates exclusive federal jurisdiction over all claims brought to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder and our Articles of Association confirm that the federal district courts of the United States of America will be the exclusive forum for resolving any complaint asserting a cause of action arising under the Exchange Act. Accordingly, actions by our shareholders to enforce any duty or liability created by the Exchange Act or the rules and regulations thereunder must be brought in federal court.
Any person or entity purchasing or otherwise acquiring or holding any interest in any of our securities shall be deemed to have notice of and consented to our exclusive forum provisions, including the Federal Forum Provision. Additionally, our shareholders cannot waive compliance with the federal securities laws and the rules and regulations thereunder. These provisions may limit our shareholders’ ability to bring a claim in a judicial forum they find favorable for disputes with us or our directors, officers or other employees, which may discourage lawsuits against us and our directors, officers and other employees and agents. Alternatively, if a court were to find the choice of forum provision contained in our Articles of Association to be inapplicable or unenforceable in an action, we may incur additional costs associated with resolving such action in other jurisdictions, which may have an adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
We identified material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting in the year ended December 31, 2021, and we may identify additional material weaknesses in the future.
As of December 31, 2021, we identified two material weaknesses with respect to internal control over financial reporting. The first material weakness related to the design necessary for an effective information technology control for certain divisions, which was remediated in 2022. The second material weakness identified in 2021 related to our internal control over the review of manual journal entries, which was not fully remediated as of December 31, 2022. A material weakness is a deficiency, or combination of deficiencies, in internal controls over financial reporting, such that there is a reasonable possibility that a material misstatement of the consolidated financial statements will not be prevented or detected on a timely basis.
During the year ended December 31, 2023, we implemented a remediation plan which involved (i) assessing the processes and controls over review of manual journal entries, (ii) automating where possible and practical the entry posting processing and (iii) improving the segregation of duties in connection therewith. As a result of the steps taken by management, the material weakness over the manual review of journal entries was remediated. The remediation procedures performed do not provide assurance that our remediation or other controls will continue to operate properly and that we will be able to maintain effective internal control over financial reporting. We also cannot provide assurance that our internal control over financial reporting will be sufficient to avoid potential future material weaknesses. Furthermore, our current and future controls may become inadequate due to changes in conditions in our business, information systems and key personnel.
If we are unable to successfully remediate any future material weaknesses in our internal control over financial reporting, the accuracy and timing of our financial reporting may be adversely affected; additionally, our reputation, liquidity, access to capital markets and share price may also be negatively impacted.
See “Item 15. Controls and Procedures” for additional detail on the remediation of the control weakness.
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Risks Related to Irish Companies
Certain provisions of Irish law and our Articles of Association could hinder, delay or prevent a change in control of Dole, which could adversely affect the price of our Ordinary shares.
Certain provisions of Irish law and our Articles of Association contain provisions that could make it more difficult for a third-party to acquire us without the consent of our Board of Directors.
Our Articles of Association include provisions permitting our Board of Directors to issue preferred shares from time to time in one or more series and to establish the terms, preferences and rights of any such series of preferred shares, all without approval of our shareholders and allowing our Board of Directors to adopt a shareholder rights plan upon such terms and conditions as it deems expedient in the interests of the Company.
As an Irish public limited company, we are subject to provisions of Irish law, which may prevent or impede any attempt to acquire us, including provisions relating to mandatory bids, voluntary bids, requirements to make a cash offer and minimum price requirements, as well as substantial acquisition rules and rules requiring the disclosure of interests in our shares in certain circumstances.
Our Articles of Association include provisions classifying our Board of Directors into three classes of directors with staggered three-year terms. A retiring director is eligible for reappointment at the annual general meeting at which he or she retires. Our Articles of Association also permit the Board of Directors to fill any vacancies. These factors could have the effect of making the replacement of incumbent directors more time consuming and difficult.
These provisions may make it difficult and expensive for a third party to pursue a tender offer, change in control or takeover attempt that is opposed by our management or our Board of Directors. Public shareholders who might desire to participate in these types of transactions may not have an opportunity to do so, even if the transaction is favorable to shareholders. These anti-takeover provisions could substantially impede the ability of public shareholders to benefit from a change in control or change our management and Board of Directors and, as a result, may adversely affect the market price of our Ordinary shares and your ability to realize any potential change of control premium.
A transfer of our Ordinary shares, other than by means of the transfer of book-entry interests in the Depository Trust Company (“DTC”), may be subject to Irish stamp duty.
Transfers of our Ordinary shares effected by means of the transfer of book-entry interests in DTC will not be subject to Irish stamp duty. However, if you hold your Ordinary shares directly rather than beneficially through DTC or your Ordinary shares are transferred other than by means of the transfer of book-entry interests in DTC, any transfer of your Ordinary shares could be subject to Irish stamp duty (currently at the rate of 1% of the higher of the price paid or the market value of the shares acquired). In such circumstances, while the payment of Irish stamp duty is primarily a legal obligation of the transferee, when shares are purchased on the NYSE, the purchaser will require the stamp duty to be borne by the transferor. The potential for stamp duty could adversely affect the price of your Ordinary shares which are held directly outside of DTC rather than beneficially through DTC or are transferred other than by means of the transfer of book-entry interests in DTC.
In certain limited circumstances, dividends we pay may be subject to Irish dividend withholding tax.
In certain limited circumstances, Irish dividend withholding tax (currently at a rate of 25%) may arise in respect of any dividends paid on our Ordinary shares. A number of exemptions from Irish dividend withholding tax exist such that shareholders resident in the U.S. and shareholders resident in certain countries may be entitled to exemptions from Irish dividend withholding tax.
U.S. resident shareholders that hold their Ordinary shares through DTC will not be subject to Irish dividend withholding tax provided the addresses of the beneficial owners of such Ordinary shares in the records of the brokers holding such Ordinary shares are recorded as being in the U.S. (and such brokers have further transmitted the relevant information to a qualifying intermediary appointed by us). U.S. resident shareholders in the Company that hold their Ordinary shares outside of DTC and shareholders resident in certain other countries (irrespective of whether they hold their Ordinary shares through DTC or outside DTC) will not be subject to Irish dividend withholding tax provided the beneficial owners of such Ordinary shares have furnished completed and valid dividend withholding tax forms or an Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) Form 6166, as appropriate, to our transfer agent or their brokers (and such brokers have further transmitted the relevant information to our transfer agent). However, other shareholders may be subject to Irish dividend withholding tax, which could adversely affect the price of your Ordinary shares.
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Dividends received by Irish residents and certain other shareholders may be subject to Irish income tax.
Shareholders entitled to an exemption from Irish dividend withholding tax on dividends received from us will not be subject to Irish income tax in respect of those dividends, unless they have some connection with Ireland other than their shareholding in us (for example, they are resident in Ireland). Shareholders who are not resident nor ordinarily resident in Ireland but who are not entitled to an exemption from Irish dividend withholding tax will generally have no further liability to Irish income tax on those dividends which suffer Irish dividend withholding tax.
Ordinary shares received by means of a gift or inheritance could be subject to Irish capital acquisitions tax.
Irish capital acquisitions tax (“CAT”) could apply to a gift or inheritance of our Ordinary shares, irrespective of the place of residence, ordinary residence or domicile of the parties. This is because our Ordinary shares are regarded as property situated in Ireland. The person who receives the gift or inheritance has primary liability for CAT.
Item 4.    Information on the Company
A.    History and Development of the Company
Our legal and commercial name is Dole plc. We were incorporated in Ireland on June 16, 2017 as a dormant company under the name Pearmill Limited and changed our name to Dole Limited on April 13, 2021. On April 26, 2021, we re-registered as a public limited company under the laws of Ireland and changed our name to Dole plc.
Our principal places of business are 29 North Anne Street, Dublin 7, D07PH36, Ireland (which is also our registered address) and 200 S. Tryon St., Suite #600, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202. Our telephone number is 353-1-887-2600. The name and address of our agent in the U.S. is Corporation Service Company at 251 Little Falls Drive, Wilmington, Delaware 19808.
On February 16, 2021, Total Produce, Legacy Dole and the C&C Parties entered into a binding transaction agreement to combine Total Produce and Legacy Dole. Prior to the transaction, Total Produce had a 45.0% ownership interest in Legacy Dole. On July 29, 2021, the Merger between Total Produce and Legacy Dole under Dole plc occurred in the following manner: (i) shares in Total Produce were exchanged for shares in Dole plc through a scheme of arrangement at a fixed exchange ratio, and (ii) Legacy Dole merged with a subsidiary of Dole plc via a reverse triangular merger.
On July 30, 2021, we listed the Company’s Ordinary shares on the NYSE under the ticker “DOLE”.
On March 27, 2024, Dole and Fresh Express agreed to terminate the Fresh Express Agreement, and Dole announced that it is in the process of pursuing alternative transactions through which it will exit the Fresh Vegetables business.
As a result of the decision to exit the business, the Fresh Vegetables division’s results are reported separately as discontinued operations, net of income taxes, in our consolidated financial statements included herein. Unless otherwise noted, all other sections describe Dole in its entirety, which may include details on the Fresh Vegetables business, as applicable.
See Note 4 “Acquisitions and Divestitures” and Note 22 “Investments in Unconsolidated Affiliates” to our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information on the acquisition of Legacy Dole, and other acquisitions and divestitures. See “Item 5B. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects - Liquidity and Capital Resources” for information regarding historical capital expenditures and planned future capital expenditures.
For information on the SEC’s website and our website, please refer to “Item 10.H. Documents on Display.
B.    Business Overview
Our Company
Dole is a global leader in fresh fruits and vegetables, with a portfolio of over 300 products that are grown and sourced, both locally and globally, from over 30 countries in various regions worldwide. These products are distributed and marketed in over 75 countries, across retail, wholesale and foodservice channels, under our business-to-business and business-to-consumer brands, the most notable being our iconic DOLE brand. Our most significant products hold leading positions in their respective product categories and market territories, and we are one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of fresh bananas and pineapples.
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Our owned farming operations combined with a multi-continental sourcing model provides us with operating flexibility and product availability throughout the year. Within many territories in Europe, we operate a partnership model with our grocery retail customers, offering holistic fresh produce management solutions and, in some cases, managing entire categories within their stores.
Our vertically-integrated business model is supported by a valuable and extensive infrastructure and asset base, including approximately 110,000 acres of farms and other land holdings around the world. In addition, we own a fleet of refrigerated container carriers and pallet-friendly conventional refrigerated ships and have an extensive portfolio of various business facilities, including packing houses, manufacturing plants and cold storage and distribution facilities. In addition to our owned asset base, we have developed long-standing relationships with independent growers across the globe, including international partnerships, joint ventures and other investments, which provide us additional operational flexibility and extended range and availability. Refer to “Item 4D. Property, Plant & Equipment” for further discussion on our strategic assets.
We are an enthusiastic advocate of a healthy lifestyle and supporting consumers in making healthier choices by consuming more fruits and vegetables. We are committed to continuously improving farming and supply chain practices and the way we operate our business to make a positive impact on society and the environment through our activities.
Our Segments and Products
For our fiscal year ended December 31, 2023, accounting for the anticipated exit from the Fresh Vegetables division, which comprises substantially all of the assets and all of the liabilities of the former Fresh Vegetables reportable segment, Dole has the following three segments – Fresh Fruit, Diversified Fresh Produce – Europe, the Middle East and Africa (“Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA”) and Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas and the Rest of the World (“Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW”). These segments are managed separately due to differences in geography, products, production processes, distribution channels and customer bases. We believe this organizational structure allows us to continue serving our customers with the exceptional quality that they have come to associate with the brands we market and to drive growth and cost efficiencies through the realization of operational synergies across the overall business.
Fresh Fruit. The Fresh Fruit reportable segment is a market-leading and vertically-integrated producer and distributor of multiple varieties of bananas and pineapples which are sourced from local growers or Dole-owned and leased farms, predominately located in Latin America, and sold throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. This segment also operates a commercial cargo business, which offers available capacity to transport third party cargo on company-owned vessels that are primarily used internally for transporting bananas and pineapples between Latin America, North America and Europe.
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA. The Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA reportable segment includes Dole’s Irish, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, U.K., Swedish, Danish, South African, Czech, Slovakian, Polish and Brazilian businesses, the majority of which sell a variety of imported and local fresh fruits and vegetables through retail, wholesale, e-commerce and, in some instances, food service channels across the European marketplace.
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW. The Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reportable segment includes Dole’s U.S., Canadian, Chilean, Peruvian, Mexican and Argentinian businesses, all of which market globally and locally sourced fresh produce. These businesses can vary in nature from primary production to wholesale operations, retail-orientated marketers and specialist businesses dedicated to specific lines or categories. A shared commitment to quality and a customer-centric approach to commercial relationships unite these businesses.
See Note 5 “Revenue” and Note 6 “Segments” to our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional revenue information related to our segments, our products and the geographic markets in which we compete.
Seasonality
The sales price of any fresh produce item varies throughout the year due to the supply of and demand for that particular product, as well as due to the pricing and availability of other fresh produce items, many of which are seasonal in nature. Seasonality also varies in each of our external reportable segments.
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For example, in our Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reportable segment, we typically see the strongest results from October to May, during the peak production and selling seasons for seasonal products sourced from key growing regions, such as Chile and Peru. In our Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA reportable segment, we typically see our strongest performance in the second and third quarters of the fiscal year due to our presence in key European markets for locally-sourced products at this time and in production countries that are strongest in winter sourcing periods.
On the other hand, in Fresh Fruit, while production is continuous throughout the year, peak production typically occurs in the second half of the year and peak demand typically occurs in the first half of the year due to slightly lower competition from seasonal fruits in our key sales markets.
Overall, due to the relative size of our external reportable segments, we typically experience the strongest performance in the second quarter, when Fresh Fruit and Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA are at relative peaks and before Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW slows down for its winter months. The fourth quarter is typically the quarter with the lowest operating income, due to the relative troughs in demand and activity experienced by the Fresh Fruit and Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA reportable segments.
Our Competitive Strengths and Industry Opportunities
We believe that the following strengths position us to develop and maintain the competitive advantages and leading positions that are critical to our continued success.
Established Global and Local Leadership in a Large and Structurally Growing Industry Category
We are one of the global leaders in bananas and pineapples and one of the largest global exporters of grapes. We plan to strengthen our position in berries and avocados by further developing the businesses and newer varieties of these products through closer collaboration with growers, using production assets to connect consumers to the source, and by utilizing current infrastructure to achieve a more efficient route to market in the U.S. and Europe.
While the produce industry is competitive and comprises a large number of businesses, we believe that our size and scale allow us to create differentiation, maximize operational efficiencies and maintain a low-cost positioning that is difficult to replicate.
Highly Diversified Product and Service Offering, Sourcing and Customer Base
Dole plc offers a diversified and well-balanced portfolio which we believe uniquely positions us for sustainable and profitable growth. We offer over 300 products to customers which include a variety of fruits, vegetables and other produce-related items, health and consumer goods and logistics services, the most notable being our commercial cargo business.
Overall, we source products in over 30 countries in various regions; however, our approach varies significantly between reporting segments.
For our products that can be sourced from the same locations throughout the entirety of the year, we favor a vertically-integrated but diverse sourcing approach, combining significant investments in owned production in key sourcing countries with complimentary grower relationships in those areas.
For our Fresh Fruit reportable segment, bananas, plantains and our other smaller product lines are sourced primarily from Latin and Central America, and pineapples are sourced primarily from Central America and Hawaii.
For our reporting segments that sell more products that are seasonal in nature, our sourcing approach is to combine a strong local presence in our markets and certain production regions with an ability to source globally to meet our customers’ needs across all seasons.
Within our Diversified – EMEA and Diversified – Americas & ROW reportable segments, we operate businesses that are primarily markets based and businesses which are export led. For our markets-based businesses, produce is sourced locally during relevant growing seasons, including at times from owned production, while during off seasons, we source on a global basis from a variety of northern and southern hemisphere locations. For example, throughout the Company, berries are sourced from locations including the U.S., U.K., Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Morocco, South Africa and Egypt.
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On the export side, our operations are more seasonal, where we combine owned production investments with grower relationships to develop a strong export offering to our third party customers. Examples include the important cherry season in Chile, as well as more general seasons in the southern hemisphere, including the grape, apple, pear, kiwi, berry, citrus and avocado seasons. We also have some products within these businesses with year-round sourcing from specific locations, including bananas in Spain and Portugal from the Canary Islands and potatoes and onions from North America.
Fresh produce supplies are affected by the geography of production, growing conditions, climate, seasonality and perishability. Adverse weather conditions, natural disasters and geopolitical conditions are some of the challenges to operating in the produce industry. Although the regions listed above are the primary sourcing locations for certain of our products, by maintaining hundreds of grower relationships across North America, Europe, Latin America, Africa, New Zealand and other geographies, we are not fully dependent upon any one geographic area or grower for our sourcing. Our diversified sourcing reduces risk from exposure to natural disasters and political disruptions, while allowing access to the highest quality products throughout the year. In fiscal year 2023, no third-party grower represented more than 10% of the sourced volume for any significant product.
Our products are distributed and marketed in over 75 countries, across retail, wholesale, foodservice and e-commerce channels, including leading grocery stores and other retail chains, wholesalers, mass merchandisers, supercenters, foodservice operators, club stores, convenience stores, distributors and smaller regional customers. Our diverse product offering allows us to reach a broad global consumer base that is increasingly demanding product availability year round. Our customers are leading retail, wholesale and foodservice customers, primarily in North America, Latin America and Europe, none of which contributed more than 10% of total sales in fiscal year 2023. See Note 5 “Revenue” and Note 6 “Segments” to our consolidated financial statements included herein for additional revenue information related to our products and the geographic markets in which we compete.
We have maintained this diversity through forming new and developing existing relationships with a wide variety of growers, vendors and customers. In addition, our well-capitalized balance sheet positions us to benefit from acquisitions and development opportunities within a fragmented industry. Dole plc has an extensive history of mergers and acquisitions in the fresh produce sector, which has allowed us to diversify our product offerings and customer base, build highly specialized capabilities in the industry and expand geographically. Over the years, Total Produce and Dole have completed more than 100 acquisitions. These acquisitions are of varying sizes across four continents, from transformational investments, such as the original investment in Legacy Dole and subsequent step-up acquisition, to smaller, bolt-on investments. These transactions were a significant driver of Dole’s growth, with revenue growing from $2.0 billion in 2006 to $8.2 billion in 2023. Under our business strategy of growth through acquisitions, we continue to review, evaluate and consider opportunities to further expand our geographic coverage, customer diversity, product offerings and value across the produce industry.
Iconic DOLE Brand and Industry Leading Customer Awareness
The DOLE brand is the most recognized and trusted brand in fresh fruit and vegetables in the U.S., as evidenced by our 92% consumer brand awareness, according to a survey conducted in 2023 by Ipsos. Additionally, 83% of respondents in the same Ipsos survey declared that Dole has quality fruit, 84% of respondents identified DOLE as a likeable brand, 54% of respondents nominated DOLE as their favorite fruit brand, and 51% of respondents declared a willingness to pay a little more for the DOLE brand.
Through our global marketing efforts, we believe we have made the distinctive red “DOLE” letters and sunburst a familiar symbol of freshness and quality, widely recognized by consumers around the world for providing healthy food products. The DOLE brand supports our leading positions in the markets we serve. Going forward, Dole plc intends to build upon the recognition and trust that the DOLE brand has earned to broaden its footprint, extend its categories and attract new customers.
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Strong Control Over Supply Chain from Differentiated, Vertically-Integrated Business Model
Dole plc is unique in its capacity to deliver the best of both worlds: the collective strength, resources and supply chain influence of a global leader with the service and market focus of a local operator. Our strategic asset base across the globe, with total assets of approximately $4.6 billion in fiscal year 2023, gives us superior control over production, processing, warehousing and transportation. Fresh produce is generally perishable and must be brought to market and sold soon after harvest, with selling prices dependent on many factors, including the availability and quality of the produce. Our control over the supply chain positions us to consistently and efficiently deliver high-quality fresh fruits and vegetables to our consumers on a global scale.
Our quality starts on the farm. In our key bananas and pineapples categories, we source a substantial amount of our combined volumes from company-owned farms, and we produce some portion of our supply locally in each of the other categories in which we operate. To complement our own produced volume, we have developed enduring relationships with hundreds of growers, investing in their businesses and providing agronomic, commercial and promotional support. This combination of broad ownership of production assets across multiple regions and a diverse and large independent grower base provides us with the ability to manage costs and improve commercial opportunities, further strengthening our low-cost positioning.
In addition to raw product sourcing, we source significant quantities of paper and packaging materials, agricultural chemicals and ingredients to support our own production. Prices of certain raw materials, as well as of raw produce, can be volatile. However, we aim to manage our exposure to volatility by entering as much as possible into supply agreements that align with the duration of our marketing agreements. Overall, our supply chain and sourcing capabilities give us the tools to deliver on service, quality and cost. It also allows us to serve our customers with both the end-to-end solution and the supply chain transparency for which they are increasingly asking. Refer to “Item 5. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects” for further discussion on our sensitivity to the availability and price of certain raw materials.
Dole plc is at the Forefront of Environmental and Social Issues, Marketing a Portfolio of Healthy, Nutritious and Sustainable Produce
We are grateful to market and deliver highly nutritious products that bring health benefits to people across the world with a low environmental footprint as compared to most other food types, per the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition’s Double Pyramid. While our industry has a very special role to play in improving global health and well-being, we recognize that we have an equally essential responsibility for the people we employ, the local communities in which we operate and the natural environment which allows us to produce and deliver fresh fruits and vegetables every day.
Over recent years, we have made important strides in the areas of sustainability and social responsibility. In 2022, we experienced a 12% reduction in overall Scope 1 and Scope 2 global emissions from 2020 and a 5% increase in overall Scope 3 emissions from 2020. The Scope 1 decrease was a result of lower emissions from a more efficient shipping fleet and a reduction in refrigerant use, and the Scope 2 decrease was driven by higher usage of renewable energy. The increase in Scope 3 emissions was primarily from increased business travel and logistics activity following the pandemic.
We have calculated our emissions targets in compliance with the Science Based Target initiative (“SBTi”). These targets have been submitted to SBTi for validation. In the near-term, Dole commits to reduce:
Absolute Scope 1 and 2 Greenhouse Gas (“GHG”) emissions 44.0% by 2030 from a 2020 base year;
Absolute Scope 3 GHG emissions 25.0% by 2030 from a 2020 base year. Scope 3 emissions cover purchased goods and services, upstream and downstream transport and fuel and energy-related emissions; and
Absolute Forest, Land and Agriculture (“FLAG”) emissions 30.3% by 2030 from a 2020 base year.
In the long-term, Dole commits to reduce:
Absolute Scope 1, 2 and 3 GHG emissions 90.0% by 2050 from a 2020 base year; and
Absolute FLAG emissions 72.0% by 2050 from a 2020 base year.
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We have also obtained certain certifications and recognition for our efforts in the area of sustainability. For example, we are a member of the Alliance for Water Stewardship with 20 of our banana operations certified by the organization, with plans to expand this number by 50% by 2030. In addition, in 2022, we were awarded with an Origin Green Gold membership by the Irish Food Board for our annual performance on our sustainability targets and with the Business Multidimensional Poverty Index award by the American-Costa Rican Chamber of Commerce for one of our social development initiatives in Costa Rica.
Looking forward, we plan to expand our existing initiatives and develop new ones, in order to grow, process and distribute our produce responsibly. We have publicly committed to specific sustainability goals for 2025 and 2030 that are focused on environmental, ethical, social and nutrition-related issues.
Material Effects of Government Regulations
The food and agriculture industry is highly regulated. Regulatory authorities around the world administer numerous laws and regulations regarding the growing, harvesting, transportation, exporting, importing, processing, packaging, marketing and selling of fruit and vegetables. Although the regulations related to our business are similar in most countries, the specific requirements, including risk tolerance, of the local authorities does vary from country to country. Applicable regulations include those related to sanitation, pesticide use in source countries and residue standards in market countries, and packaging and labeling of marketed products. In the U.S., for example, an important regulatory body related to our business is the Food and Drug Administration. For further information on material government regulations, See “Item 3D. Risk Factors—Our operations and products are highly regulated in the areas of food safety and protection of human health and the environment.”, “Item 3D. Risk Factors—Litigation and regulatory enforcement concerning marketing and labeling of food products could adversely affect our business and reputation.” and the overall “Regulatory and Legal Risks” section of “Item 3D. Risk Factors.”
C.    Organizational structure.
Dole operates through various subsidiaries, joint ventures (“JV partners”), and affiliate companies around the world. The Company’s only significant subsidiary as of December 31, 2023 was as follows:
NamePrincipal activitiesProportion of voting rights and shares held (directly or indirectly)Country of Incorporation
Dole Fresh Fruit CompanyU.S. operating company100%United States
D.    Property, plant and equipment.
Principal Properties
We have a highly diverse footprint of tangible fixed assets around the world. We own and lease farms, warehouses, coolers, packhouses, processing facilities, port facilities and office space, primarily focused in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa, and vessels calling at ports primarily in the Americas and Europe. This diversification of assets includes the additional benefit of redundancies. For example, if a particular farm is unable to produce or a particular facility is unable to process, we are able to adjust our supply chain to procure fruit or process product at different facilities within our network. While our assets are an important part of our business, no one asset in particular is material when seen in the context of our entire portfolio. The following is a summary of our primary assets as of December 31, 2023 and includes assets related to the Fresh Vegetables division that will be disposed of in conjunction with our plan to exit the business.
North America
Canada
We have four distribution facilities: two in Ontario, one in British Columbia and one in Alberta, consisting of offices, warehousing and cold storage, packing, ripening rooms and transportation brokerage services. We also have additional regional sales and administrative offices in Ontario. All facilities are leased except for a 65,000 square foot (“sqft”) wholesale facility in Ontario owned by one of our JV partners.
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U.S.
We own approximately 6,626 acres of agricultural and production land across the U.S. Of our owned acreage, approximately 4,974 acres is in Oahu, Hawaii, where we produce pineapples, coffee and cacao. We utilize approximately 85% of our total owned acreage in Hawaii, and the rest is actively marketed for sale.
We own four value-added salad plants, which sit on the majority of our owned acres dedicated to our Fresh Vegetables division. The four plants are located in Bessemer City, North Carolina; Yuma, Arizona; Soledad, California and Springfield, Ohio (combined 1,082,000 sqft total). We also own three coolers (246,000 sqft total), some small farm acreages, greenhouses and office space dedicated to our Fresh Vegetables division in California. Our remaining owned acres in the U.S. are dedicated to our avocado and berry operations.

We also lease approximately 8,686 acres of agricultural land, the majority of which (approximately 8,535 net acres) are dedicated to supporting our fresh-packed and value-added businesses. We also lease some small acreages in California to support our berry businesses.
We have port terminal operations in California, Texas, Mississippi, Delaware and Florida, where we conduct our logistics and shipping operations. All operations are either leased or operated on the basis of throughput rates agreements with terminal owners and operators.
We have five additional facilities in California dedicated to warehousing and cold storage, packing and transportation brokerage services (total 457,000 sqft). The three largest facilities are leased, while we own a facility in Temecula, California and a small facility in Edison, California.
Our main office properties across the U.S. are all leased and consist of our North American corporate and North American fruit sales office in Charlotte, North Carolina and regional main offices in California and Pennsylvania for our Fresh Vegetables and Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW businesses.
South and Central America
We have operations across South and Central America. We own approximately 51,679 acres in Costa Rica, primarily used for banana and pineapple production, 35,227 acres in Honduras, primarily used for banana and pineapple production, approximately 8,752 acres in Ecuador, primarily used for banana production, and approximately 4,204 acres in Guatemala with a JV partner used for banana production. We also lease a combined 4,780 acres through wholly-owned subsidiaries and JV partners in Central America, again used for banana and pineapple production. We operate a large number of supporting packhouses and cold storage facilities throughout the region to support our tropical fruit businesses.

Our vessels operate out of terminals in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. In Ecuador, we own and operate a port, while in the other locations, we operate under a combination of leases and throughput rates with port operators and owners.
In Chile, we own approximately 2,760 acres and lease a further 3,700 acres of land dedicated to diversified produce production; in Peru, we own approximately 329 acres and lease approximately 250 acres of land used for diversified produce production; in Brazil, we lease 735 acres of land used for mango and grape production; and in Mexico, we lease 261 acres of land in connection with our berry operations.
We also operate fourteen pack houses in Chile, nine of which have cold storage facilities, one packhouse in Argentina with a cold storage facility, two packhouses in Peru, one of which is through a JV partner and two packhouses and one warehouse in Brazil to assist our operations. Our largest facility in Chile (approximately 520,000 sqft) is located in San Fernando and is primarily used for apples and pears.
Europe - Eurozone
Ireland
We have facilities across the Republic of Ireland, including our corporate head office in Dublin and other facilities, including greenhouses, warehousing and ancillary offices spread across the country. Our main operating facility is the combination of two leased buildings, totaling approximately 115,000 sqft of space, and encompasses warehouses, a packhouse and offices in Swords, Co. Dublin.
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Spain & Portugal
We have 27 facilities in Spain and two in Portugal totaling almost 800,000 sqft of office, warehousing, ripening and wholesale market space. The main operations in these countries are in Madrid (approximately 118,000 sqft), Barcelona (approximately 85,000 sqft) and Alicante (approximately 47,000 sqft), where the Spanish head office is located. Three of the facilities are owned, and all remaining facilities are leased.
The Netherlands
We operate out of a number of facilities across the Netherlands, with large warehousing and office spaces in Bleiswijk, Poeldijk and Venlo, and smaller office and warehousing spaces in Zeewolde and Dronten. We also operate a packing and cold storage facility with offices for berries in Helenaveen. The facilities in Poeldijk are owned and all other facilities are leased.
Other Eurozone
In France, we operate three facilities that consist of administration offices and ripening and distribution facilities. We operate additional ripening facilities in Stelle, Germany and Calcio and Guidonia, Italy, the largest of which is Calcio at approximately 81,000 sqft. We also have sales and administration offices across the Eurozone, including in Calcio, Italy; Athens, Greece and Hamburg, Germany, and operate out of a small port terminal office in Antwerp, Belgium in support of our shipping operation.
Non-Eurozone
The main non-Eurozone countries we operate in are as follows:
Sweden
We primarily operate from owned offices and warehouses in Helsingborg, which include automated packing and sorting facilities and ripening rooms (approximately 254,000 sqft). We operate other smaller facilities across Sweden in our produce business, including production and processing plants and other ripening rooms, warehousing and office space, while for our third party logistics business, we operate a number of leased warehouses that are subleased to customers.
Denmark
The main Danish facility is an owned facility located in Køge (approximately 143,000 sqft) and consists of a warehouse, picking and packing area, office space and avocado and mango ripening facilities. There is a second owned facility in Aarhus that is approximately 50,000 sqft and used for banana ripening and cross docking.
U.K.
Across the UK we operate from 27 locations covering offices, warehousing, and packing facilities with a mixture of owned and leased facilities. The largest facilities are in Spalding (60,000 sqft owned packing and warehouse facility) and Bristol (56,000 sqft of warehouse facilities part owned and part leased within a wholesale marketplace where we are a significant shareholder.)
Czech Republic
The headquarters for our Czech operations are based in Brno (215,000 sqft owned facility), which includes office space, warehouses, banana ripening rooms, cold storage and logistics. There are five other locations which include warehouses and leased and owned farmland, primarily used for vegetables (840 acres). Our Czech operating company also has a 120,000 sqft leased facility in Bratislava in Slovakia that is used for general wholesaling.
Rest of World
We have facilities spread across the rest of the world, with some locations owned directly and others owned through our JV partners and equity method investments. This includes 825 acres of owned and 1,650 acres of leased vineyards and orchards, as well as a 120,000 sqft warehouse in South Africa, and certain sales offices in Dubai, Australia and Hong Kong.
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We also own a fleet of seven self-sustained refrigerated container carriers and four pallet-friendly conventional refrigerated ships with container-carrying capacity on deck. We operate all of the vessels ourselves and additionally operate three chartered vessels. The seven container vessels and two of the chartered vessels operate on four services from Central and South America to the eastern coast of the U.S. (two services), U.S. gulf region and U.S. west coast, while the four owned, pallet-friendly vessels and one charter operate a single service between Central and South America, Puerto Rico and Belgium. We also lease or own a fleet of 20,550 reefer containers, 1,127 dry containers, approximately 5,685 chassis and 4,686 gensets that support our shipping operations.
Item 4.A.    Unresolved Staff Comments
None.
Item 5.        Operating and Financial Review and Prospects
The following discussion and analysis of our financial condition and results of operations included herein may contain forward-looking statements that relate to our plans, objectives, estimates and goals and involve risks and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements included herein. Statements regarding our future and projections relating to products, sales, revenues, expenditures, costs and earnings are typical of such statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, those discussed in “Item 3D. Risk Factors”.
Executive Overview
We are a global leader in fresh fruits and vegetables, with produce sourced, both locally and globally, from over 30 countries in various regions and distributed and marketed in over 75 countries, across retail, wholesale and food service channels. Our most significant products hold leading market share positions in their respective categories and territories. We are one of the world’s largest producers of fresh bananas and pineapples, one of the largest global exporters of grapes and have a strong presence in growing categories such as berries, avocados and organic produce. We sell and distribute fruit and vegetable products throughout an extensive network in North America, Europe, Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa (primarily in South Africa). For further information on our principal sources of revenue, refer to Note 5 “Revenue” to the consolidated financial statements included herein. In addition, see “Item 4. Information on the Company” for a more detailed description of our products and services offered.
Dole is comprised of the following three reportable segments:
Fresh Fruit: The Fresh Fruit reportable segment primarily sells bananas and pineapples which are sourced from local growers or Dole-owned and leased farms, predominately located in Latin America, and sold throughout North America, Europe, Latin America and Asia. This segment also operates a commercial cargo business, which offers available capacity to transport third party cargo on company-owned vessels that are primarily used internally for transporting bananas and pineapples between Latin America, North America and Europe.
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA: The Diversified Fresh Produce EMEA reportable segment includes Dole’s Irish, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, U.K., Swedish, Danish, South African, Czech, Slovakian, Polish and Brazilian businesses, the majority of which sell a variety of imported and local fresh fruits and vegetables through retail, wholesale and, in some instances, food service channels across the European marketplace.
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW: The Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reportable segment includes Dole’s U.S., Canadian, Chilean, Peruvian, Mexican, Argentinian and Indian businesses, all of which market globally and locally-sourced fresh produce from third-party growers or Dole-owned farms through retail, wholesale and food service channels globally.
Vegetables Exit Process
On March 27, 2024, certain of our wholly owned subsidiaries terminated the Fresh Express Agreement, pursuant to which Fresh Express had agreed to acquire our Fresh Vegetables division, due to the failure to obtain regulatory approval.
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We are currently engaged in the Vegetables exit process pursuant to which we will exit the Fresh Vegetables business. We are committed to exiting the business and have therefore determined that the Fresh Vegetables division continues to meet the criteria to be classified as held for sale and that the Vegetables exit process represents a strategic shift that will have a material effect on the Company’s operations and results. The results of operations of the Fresh Vegetables division have been reported separately as discontinued operations, net of income taxes, within our operating results below.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             
The Vegetables exit process, if and when completed, will have certain material direct and indirect impacts to our future operating results, statement of financial position and cash flows, the extent of which cannot be reliably estimated at this time.
Current Economic and Market Environment
Since early 2021, we have experienced inflationary pressures across our business. In 2023, these pressures continued to impact our operations but have moderated as the rate of inflation has slowed from the peaks seen in 2022. However, the economic and market environment remains volatile, and a number of external factors continue to pose important risks to the global economy and to our business today, including:

Global economic disruption due to geopolitical conflicts;
Changing central bank monetary policies, which have in particular resulted in higher interest rates and volatile foreign exchange rates;
Unfavorable weather events; and
Evolving regulatory environments in many areas, including in shipping.
In response to the various ongoing challenges noted above, we are continuing to work across our business on mitigation strategies, including implementing price increases and identifying operational efficiencies. Although we ultimately believe that we are well positioned within our industry to weather periods of economic disruption, the scope, duration and carryover effects of the above factors are uncertain, rapidly changing and difficult to predict. Therefore, the extent and magnitude of the impact of these factors on our business, operating results and long-term liquidity position cannot be reliably estimated at this time.
We are continuing to monitor the direct and indirect effects of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and other geopolitical conflicts on both the global economy and our business and operations. The broader consequences of the Russia and Ukraine war and other geopolitical conflicts have given rise to certain challenges for our business, but any resulting impacts have not been and are not expected to be material to Dole’s overall results.
See “Item 3D. Risk Factors” herein for more information on ongoing risks, such as those related to currency exchange fluctuations, increases in product costs, global capital and credit markets and the uncertainty of wars and other global conflicts.
Cyber Incident
In February 2023, we were the victim of a sophisticated ransomware incident impacting approximately half of Legacy Dole’s servers and one quarter of its end-user computers. The incident also resulted in unauthorized access to certain Dole information, including information about certain employees, though we have no reason to believe any employee information was publicly released. Upon detecting the incident, the Company promptly took steps to investigate and contain the incident, retaining the services of leading third-party cybersecurity experts and working with law enforcement. We experienced minimal operational impact from the incident, and all impacted servers and end-user computers have been restored or rebuilt. The total financial impact to the Company, including discontinued operations, was $11.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2023. See “Item 16K. Cybersecurity” for further detail on the Company’s policies and procedures on cybersecurity.
Supply Chain and Logistics Pressures
Our business is heavily dependent on raw materials and other inputs, such as fuel, containerboard, fertilizers, plastic resins and other commodities, used in the growing, packaging, manufacturing and distribution of products. Changes in the costs of raw materials and other inputs have historically impacted and are expected to continue impacting company profitability. Increases in commodity costs have historically driven, and may in the future drive, price increases for our portfolio of products to mitigate the impact of such increased costs.
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Shipping and inland logistics are of significant importance to our business, and as a result, their cost and availability are critical variables that impact sales volumes and operating margins. We manage our exposure to this variability on the shipping side by owning and operating our own vessels. Our vessels support a large portion of volume in the Fresh Fruit reportable segment and also provide additional insulation via our commercial cargo business, which typically performs strongest when the demand for and cost of shipping is at its highest. However, both within the Fresh Fruit segment and in other reportable segments, we also rely on third party shipping and logistics services. Disruptions or supply and demand imbalances in inland logistics, ocean freight or at ports and other terminals can therefore have a material impact on our operations if Dole cannot adjust pricing when markets change, secure a consistent supply of logistics services or offset additional costs with additional profit in its commercial cargo business.
For more information, see “Item 3D. Risk Factors—Global Economic and Market Risks”.
A.Operating Results.
Selected results of operations for the years ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022 were as follows:
Year Ended
Change
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
2023 vs. 2022
(U.S. Dollars in thousands, except percentages)
Revenue, net$8,245,268 $8,024,403 $220,865 2.8 %
Cost of sales(7,551,098)(7,424,525)(126,573)1.7 %
Gross profit694,170 599,878 94,292 15.7 %
Selling, marketing, general and administrative expenses(473,903)(436,192)(37,711)8.6 %
Gain on disposal of businesses— 192 (192)(100.0)%
Impairment and asset write-downs of property, plant and equipment(2,217)(397)(1,820)458.4 %
Gain on asset sales54,108 11,784 42,324 359.2 %
Operating income272,158 175,265 96,893 55.3 %
Other income, net4,799 10,600 (5,801)(54.7)%
Interest income10,083 6,407 3,676 57.4 %
Interest expense(81,113)(56,371)(24,742)43.9 %
Income from continuing operations before income taxes and equity earnings205,927 135,901 70,026 51.5 %
Income tax (expense) benefit(43,591)25,603 (69,194)270.3 %
Equity method earnings15,191 6,726 8,465 125.9 %
Income from continuing operations 177,527 168,230 9,297 5.5 %
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes(21,818)(56,447)34,629 (61.3)%
Net income155,709 111,783 43,926 39.3 %
Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests(31,646)(25,287)(6,359)25.1 %
Net income attributable to Dole plc$124,063 $86,496 $37,567 43.4 %
The following provides an analysis of consolidated operating results in comparison to the prior year. Management has analyzed the significant drivers of consolidated operating results below and provided further commentary on segment performance in the section to follow. All other operating results not included in the analysis were not significant to the Company’s overall performance. Unless otherwise noted, the changes discussed below are for the year ended December 31, 2023, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.
For an analysis of changes in operating and segment results for the year ended December 31, 2022, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2021, please see Dole’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2022, filed on March 22, 2023 by Dole plc (File No. 001-40695).
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Revenue, Net
The increase in total revenue, net (2.8%, or $220.9 million), was primarily due to increases in revenue in the Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA and Fresh Fruit reportable segments, primarily as a result of inflation-justified price increases, an incremental net positive impact from acquisitions and divestitures of $35.8 million and a favorable impact from foreign currency translation of $26.7 million, mainly driven by the strengthening of the euro and British pound sterling against the U.S. dollar. These positive impacts were partially offset by a weaker performance in the Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reportable segment.
Cost of Sales
The increase in total cost of sales (1.7%, or $126.6 million) was primarily due to increased revenue performance as discussed above, inflationary pressures on sourcing, materials and handling costs and an unfavorable impact from acquisitions and divestitures and foreign currency translation, partially offset by incremental depreciation on pineapple bearer plants recognized in the prior year in connection with the Merger.
Selling, Marketing and General and Administrative Expenses (“SMG&A”)
The increase in total SMG&A (8.6%, or $37.7 million) was primarily due to increases in employee wages and salaries and higher professional and consulting fees, which included nonrecurring costs of $5.3 million related to the cyber incident in February 2023. The increase was also related to an unfavorable impact from acquisitions and divestitures.
Gain on Asset Sales
The gain on asset sales in the current year was $54.1 million and was primarily a result of the sale of actively marketed land in Hawaii in the Fresh Fruit reportable segment. Other notable gains were a result of the sale of vessels and a property in Latin America, all within the Fresh Fruit reportable segment, the sale of other properties within the Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reportable segment and the sale of certain assets that are excluded from the Vegetables exit process. See Note 11 “Assets Held-for-Sale and Actively Marketed Property” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail. The gain on asset sales in the prior year was primarily from the sale of two buildings in Europe and actively marketed land in Hawaii.
Other income, net
The decrease in other income, net (54.7%, or $5.8 million), was primarily due to unrealized net losses on foreign denominated borrowings and net periodic costs from non-service components of pension and other postretirement benefit plans in the current year, partially offset by gains on investments and increases in other activity.
See Note 7 “Other Income, Net” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the components of other income, net.
Interest Expense
The increase in interest expense (43.9%, or $24.7 million) was due to higher interest rates and higher fees on trade receivables sales arrangements in the current year.
Income Taxes
The Company recorded income tax expense of $43.6 million on $205.9 million of income from continuing operations before income taxes and equity earnings in the current year, reflecting a 21.2% effective tax rate, and an income tax benefit of $25.6 million on $135.9 million of income from continuing operations before income taxes and equity earnings in the prior year, reflecting an (18.8)% effective tax rate.
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Dole’s effective tax rate varies significantly from period to period due to the level, mix and seasonality of earnings generated in Ireland and its various foreign jurisdictions, including the U.S. In the current year, the Company’s income tax expense differed from the Irish statutory rate of 12.5% primarily due to U.S. global intangible low-taxed income (“GILTI”) provisions of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Act”), U.S. Subpart F income inclusion, a decrease in liabilities for uncertain tax positions related to the taxation of foreign income as a result of the lapse of the statute of limitations and operations in foreign jurisdictions that are taxed at different rates than the Irish statutory tax rate. In the prior year, the Company’s income tax expense differed from the Irish statutory rate of 12.5% primarily due to the GILTI provisions of the Tax Act, U.S. Subpart F income inclusion, a decrease in liabilities for uncertain tax positions and operations in foreign jurisdictions that are taxed at different rates than the Irish statutory tax rate.
The Company’s net deferred tax liability is primarily related to acquired intangible assets and fair value adjustments resulting from the Merger and is net of deferred tax assets related to the U.S. federal interest disallowance carryforward, U.S. state and non-U.S. net operating loss carryforwards and other temporary differences. Dole maintains a valuation allowance against certain U.S. state and non-U.S. deferred tax assets. Each reporting period, the Company evaluates the need for a valuation allowance on deferred tax assets by jurisdiction and adjusts estimates as more information becomes available.
All post-1986 previously unremitted earnings for which no U.S. deferred tax liability had been accrued have been subject to U.S. tax. Dole plc is an Irish-based parent company and intends to continue to invest most or all of its foreign earnings, as well as capital, in its foreign subsidiaries, indefinitely outside of Ireland and does not expect to incur any significant additional taxes related to such amounts. Also, from time to time, Dole may choose to repatriate anticipated future earnings of which some portion may be subject to tax and increase Dole’s overall tax expense for that fiscal year. The Company continues to evaluate its cash needs and may update its assertion in future periods.
During the year ended December 31, 2022, the tax authorities in one of Dole’s foreign jurisdictions issued an income tax assessment related to transfer pricing of approximately $30.0 million (including interest and penalties) for the 2017 tax year. The Company’s subsidiary appealed the assessment, and on March 9, 2023, the reviewing body annulled the assessment. The tax authority has begun a new audit, which the Company’s subsidiary has challenged based on the expiration of the statute of limitations. Based on the new audit, an assessment was issued in October 2023 of approximately $20.0 million (including interest and penalties) for the 2017 tax year. The Company continues to protest the reopening of the audit for 2017 on the grounds that the statute of limitations has expired, and the Company has also appealed the most recent assessment with the taxing authorities. On December 20, 2023, the Tax Administration issued a resolution to the filed appeal in which the tax authority confirmed its assessments against the Company. In response, the Company filed an appeal on February 15, 2024. The Company believes that, based on an analysis of the facts and circumstances, applicable local law, tax regulations and case law, it is more likely than not that we will prevail. While the Company believes the likelihood of paying the assessment is remote, the timing of resolution remains uncertain.
On December 18, 2023, the President of Ireland signed the Finance (No. 2) Bill 2023 which included legislation regarding the implementation of Pillar Two (with an effective date of January 1, 2024). The legislation enacts a domestic and multinational top-up tax to implement the Domestic Minimum Top-up Tax and Income Inclusion Rule, two of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Anti-Base Erosion Model Rules (Pillar Two). Pillar Two aims to ensure that multinationals pay a minimum effective corporate tax of 15% in each jurisdiction in which they operate. The legislation did not impact Dole’s 2023 annual effective tax rate, and we are currently evaluating the impact on our 2024 annual effective tax rate.
On December 27, 2023, the government of Bermuda passed legislation enacting a 15% corporate tax regime that will become effective for tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2025. The new legislation is intended to align with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Global Anti-Base Erosion Model Rules (Pillar Two). The legislation will not impact Dole’s 2023 annual effective tax rate, and we are currently evaluating future impacts.
See Note 9 “Income Taxes” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information on income taxes.
Equity Method Earnings
The increase in equity method earnings was primarily due to improved performance across the Company’s joint ventures in Europe and Latin America and from the disposal of a joint venture in the prior year that was operating at a loss.
See Note 22 “Investments in Unconsolidated Affiliates” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional information on equity method investments.
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Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes
Losses in the Fresh Vegetables division decreased from $56.4 million to $21.8 million. The improvement in results is primarily from the cessation of depreciation of fixed assets and amortization of operating lease right-of-use assets from March 31, 2023 onward, due to their classification as held for sale, partially offset by higher costs in the current year as a result of the Vegetables exit process, adverse weather conditions, legal matters and the cyber incident in the first quarter of 2023. On an underlying basis, the business continued its improved performance in comparison to prior year with higher pricing being partially offset by lower volumes.
Segment Operating Results
Dole has the following segments: Fresh Fruit, Diversified Fresh Produce EMEA and Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW. The Company’s reportable segments are based on (i) financial information reviewed by the Chief Operating Decision Maker (“CODM”), (ii) internal management and related reporting structures and (iii) the basis upon which the CODM assesses performance and allocates resources.
Segment performance is evaluated based on a variety of factors, of which revenue and adjusted earnings before interest expense, income taxes and depreciation and amortization (“Adjusted EBITDA”) are the financial measures regularly reviewed by the CODM.
Dole and its chief operating decision makers, Dole’s CEO and COO, use Adjusted EBITDA as the primary financial measure, because it is a measure commonly used by financial analysts in evaluating the performance of companies in the same industry. The adjustments in calculating Adjusted EBITDA have been made, because management excludes these amounts when evaluating performance on the basis that such adjustments eliminate the effects of (i) considerable amounts of non-cash depreciation and amortization and (ii) items not within the control of the Company’s operations managers. Adjusted EBITDA is not calculated or presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP, but Adjusted EBITDA by segment is presented in conformity with Accounting Standards Codification (“ASC”) 280, Segments. Further, Adjusted EBITDA as used herein is not necessarily comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies. Adjusted EBITDA is not a substitute for net income attributable to Dole plc, net income, cash flows from operating activities or any other measure prescribed by U.S. GAAP.
Adjusted EBITDA is reconciled below to net income by (1) subtracting the loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes; (2) subtracting the income tax expense or adding the income tax benefit; (3) subtracting interest expense; (4) subtracting depreciation charges; (5) subtracting amortization charges on intangible assets; (6) subtracting mark to market losses or adding mark to market gains related to unrealized impacts from derivative instruments and foreign currency denominated borrowings, realized impacts on noncash settled foreign currency denominated borrowings, net foreign currency impacts on liquidated entities and fair value movements on contingent consideration; (7) other items which are separately stated based on materiality, which, during the years ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, included adding or subtracting asset write-downs from extraordinary events, net of insurance proceeds, adding the gain or subtracting the loss on the disposal of business interests, subtracting the incremental costs from the fair value uplift for biological assets related to the acquisition of Legacy Dole, adding the gain or subtracting the loss on the sale of investments accounted for under the equity method, adding the gain or subtracting the loss on asset sales for assets held for sale and actively marketed property, subtracting restructuring charges and costs for legal matters not in the ordinary course of business, subtracting charges for impairment of property, plant and equipment and subtracting costs incurred for the cyber-related incident; and (8) the Company’s share of these items from equity method investments.
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The following provides revenue by segment and a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA by segment to consolidated net income, which is the most directly comparable U.S. GAAP financial measure:
Year Ended
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
Segment Revenue:(U.S. dollars in thousands)
Fresh Fruit$3,135,866 $3,047,149 
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA3,432,945 3,152,561 
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW1,800,168 1,965,667 
Total segment revenue8,368,979 8,165,377 
Intersegment revenue(123,711)(140,974)
Total consolidated revenue, net$8,245,268 $8,024,403 
Reconciliation of net income to Adjusted EBITDA
Net income
$155,709 $111,783 
Loss from discontinued operations, net of income taxes21,818 56,447 
Income from continuing operations177,527 168,230 
Adjustments:
Income tax expense (benefit)43,591 (25,603)
Interest expense81,113 56,371 
Depreciation93,970 98,703 
Amortization of intangible assets10,198 10,893 
Mark to market losses2,524 3,049 
Gain on asset sales(52,495)(10,316)
Incremental charges on biological assets related to the acquisition of Legacy Dole— 41,145 
Cyber-related incident5,321 — 
Other items2,918 (231)
Adjustments from equity method investments20,451 18,155 
Total consolidated Adjusted EBITDA$385,118 $360,396 
Segment Adjusted EBITDA:
Fresh Fruit
$208,930 $205,547 
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA133,570 111,053 
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW42,618 43,796 
Total consolidated Adjusted EBITDA$385,118 $360,396 
Adjusted EBITDA is not a substitute for net income attributable to Dole plc, net income, net cash provided by operating activities or any other measure prescribed by U.S. GAAP.
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The following table illustrates the estimated impact of factors that have driven changes in segment revenues for the year ended December 31, 2023, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2022:
Revenue for the Year Ended
December 31, 2022
Foreign exchange translation1,2
Acquisitions/ divestitures
Operational change3
December 31, 2023
(U.S. dollars in millions)
Fresh Fruit
$3,047,149 $— 0$— $88,717 $3,135,866 
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA3,152,561 33,200 35,812 211,372 3,432,945 
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW1,965,667 (6,469)— (159,030)1,800,168 
Intersegment revenue
(140,974)— — 17,263 (123,711)
$8,024,403 $26,731 $35,812 $158,322 $8,245,268 
1 The impact of foreign exchange translation represents an estimate of the effect of translating the results of operations denominated in a foreign currency to U.S. dollar at prior year average rates, as compared to the current year average rates.
2 While we acknowledge that the Fresh Fruit segment is impacted by foreign exchange translation, the impact is not easily determinable, as the prices for Fresh Fruit products in European markets are typically heavily impacted by the exchange rates between European currencies and the U.S. dollar at the time contracts are set with customers (and for spot fruit at the time fruit is sold). This is due to the majority of Fresh Fruit products being sourced using U.S. dollar terms.
3 Operational change represents the remaining change in revenue after isolating the impacts of foreign exchange translation and acquisitions and divestitures, which we believe are significant factors that impact the comparability of our operating results in comparison to the prior year. The operational change is discussed in greater detail below.
The following table illustrates the estimated impact of factors that have driven changes in segment Adjusted EBITDA for the year ended December 31, 2023, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2022:
Adjusted EBITDA for the Year Ended
December 31, 2022
Foreign exchange translation1
Acquisitions/ divestitures
Operational change2
December 31, 2023
(U.S. dollars in millions)
Fresh Fruit
$205,547 $(412)$— $3,795 $208,930 
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA111,053 1,345 1,834 19,338 133,570 
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW43,796 (260)969 (1,887)42,618 
$360,396 $673 $2,803 $21,246 $385,118 
1 The impact of foreign exchange translation represents an estimate of the effect of translating the results of operations denominated in a foreign currency to U.S. dollar at prior year average rates, as compared to the current year average rates.
2 Operational change represents the remaining change in Adjusted EBITDA after isolating the impacts of foreign exchange translation and acquisitions and divestitures, which we believe are significant factors that impact the comparability of our operating results in comparison to the prior year. The operational change is discussed in greater detail below.
Changes in segment revenue and segment Adjusted EBITDA are described in more detail below, with focus on operational changes which we believe are more reflective of the Company’s performance in comparison to the prior year. Unless otherwise noted, the changes discussed below are for the year ended December 31, 2023, as compared to the year ended December 31, 2022.
Fresh Fruit
The increase in Fresh Fruit revenue, net (2.9%, or $88.7 million), to $3.1 billion was primarily due to higher worldwide pricing of bananas and pineapples and an increase in worldwide volumes of bananas sold, partially offset by lower worldwide volumes of pineapples sold.
The increase in Fresh Fruit Adjusted EBITDA (1.6%, or $3.4 million) to $208.9 million was primarily due to strong revenue performance, partially offset by higher fruit sourcing costs, an increase in materials and handling costs and lower profit from the commercial cargo business.
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Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA
The increase in Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA revenue, net (8.9%, or $280.4 million), to $3.4 billion was primarily due to inflation-justified price increases across the segment, a net positive impact from acquisitions and divestitures of $35.8 million, driven by acquisitions in Spain, and a positive impact from foreign currency translation of $33.2 million, as a result of the strengthening of the euro and British pound sterling against the U.S. dollar. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation and acquisition and divestitures, revenue was 6.7%, or $211.4 million, ahead of the prior year.
The increase in Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA Adjusted EBITDA (20.3%, or $22.5 million) to $133.6 million was primarily due to strong performance across the segment in comparison to the prior year, particularly within the Spanish, Dutch, Czech and South African businesses, as well as a net favorable impact from acquisitions and divestitures of $1.8 million. Excluding the impact of foreign currency translation and acquisition and divestitures, Adjusted EBITDA was 17.4%, or $19.3 million, ahead of prior year.
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW
The decrease in Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW revenue, net (8.4%, or $165.5 million), to $1.8 billion was primarily due to lower volumes of most commodities sold, particularly cherries, berries, grapes and apples, partially offset by inflation-justified price increases, a strong recovery in pricing of grapes and apples after a challenging 2022 and continued strong performance for potatoes and onions in North America.
The decrease in Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW Adjusted EBITDA (2.7%, or $1.2 million) to $42.6 million was primarily due to a weak performance for the North American berry business and lower profits in the Chilean cherry business due to seasonal timing differences, partially offset by strong recovery in Chilean apples and grapes after challenging seasons in 2022 and by strong trading activity for most other products that we market in North America, particularly for potatoes and onions.
B.    Liquidity and capital resources.
Overview
The primary purpose of our financial management strategy is to maintain adequate capital resources to meet financial obligations, optimize capital structure in order to maximize shareholder value and maintain financial flexibility to execute strategic initiatives.
Primary sources of cash flow for Dole have historically been cash flow from operating activities, the issuance of debt and bank borrowings. We have a history of borrowing funds internationally and expect to be able to continue to borrow funds over the long term. Material cash requirements have included payments of debt and related interest, capital expenditures, investments in companies, increases in ownership of subsidiaries or companies in which Dole holds equity investments and payments of dividends to shareholders.
We expect to use the net proceeds from the Vegetables exit process, if and when completed, primarily for the reduction of debt.
Based on expected cash flow from operating activities over the next year, we believe our working capital, as an indicator of our ability to satisfy short-term obligations, is sufficient. Beyond the upcoming year, we believe that cash flows from operating activities, available cash and cash equivalents and access to borrowing facilities will be sufficient to fund any future capital expenditures, debt service, dividend payments and other capital requirements going forward.
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Cash Flows
The following table summarizes Dole’s consolidated cash flows for the years ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022:
Year Ended
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
Cash provided by (used in) continuing operations, net:
(U.S. Dollars in thousands)
Operating activities
$298,605 $323,612 
Investing activities
5,224 (54,071)
Financing activities
(229,998)(173,396)
Foreign currency impact
5,448 (20,712)
Cash used in discontinued operations, net(31,114)(97,154)
Net increase (decrease) in cash
48,165 (21,721)
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning, including discontinued operations
228,840 250,561 
Cash and cash equivalents, ending, including discontinued operations
$277,005 $228,840 
Cash flows provided by operating activities were $298.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to $323.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The current year was positively impacted by increased collections of receivables. There was also an increase in cash flows during the current year from changes in inventory, as stock levels in 2022 were higher to protect against sourcing challenges for paper and agricultural chemicals. The prior year comparative period was positively impacted by a third-party trade receivables sales arrangement which delivered incremental cash inflows of $167.6 million. Refer to Note 8 “Receivables” for further detail on these arrangements. The positive impact in the comparative period from the trade receivable sales arrangement was partially offset by longer collection times due to global logistics challenges.
Cash flows provided by investing activities were $5.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to cash flows used of $54.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase in cash provided by investing activities was driven by higher proceeds received on asset sales, primarily related to land sales in Hawaii, and lower capital expenditures.
Cash flows used in financing activities were $230.0 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to $173.4 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The increase in cash used in financing activities was primarily attributable to higher repayments of debt, net of borrowings.
Cash used in discontinued operations decreased to $31.1 million for the year ended December 31, 2023, compared to $97.2 million for the year ended December 31, 2022. The comparative period was negatively impacted by the packaged salad recall and plant suspensions in December of 2021, which led to lower revenues and additional costs in 2022.
Included in cash tax payments, in the year ended December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022, is $10.2 million and $5.4 million, respectively, for the repatriation tax under Internal Revenue Code Section 965. Repatriation tax payments for fiscal year 2024 and fiscal year 2025 are expected to be $13.5 million and $16.7 million, respectively.
Net Debt
Net debt is the primary measure used by management to analyze the Company’s capital structure and financial leverage. Net debt is a non-GAAP financial measure, calculated as cash and cash equivalents less current debt, long-term debt and bank overdrafts, excluding debt discounts and issuance costs. Management believes that net debt is an important measure to monitor leverage and evaluate the consolidated balance sheets.
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The following table sets forth a reconciliation of cash and cash equivalents and total debt to net debt as of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022:
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
(U.S. Dollars in thousands)
Cash and cash equivalents$275,580 $228,840 
Debt:
Long-term debt, net(845,013)(1,127,321)
Current portion of long-term debt, net(222,940)(97,435)
Bank overdrafts(11,488)(8,623)
Total debt, net(1,079,441)(1,233,379)
Less: Debt discounts and debt issuance costs(14,395)(17,874)
Total gross debt(1,093,836)(1,251,253)
Net debt
$(818,256)$(1,022,413)
Under the terms of the Credit Agreement entered into on March 26, 2021 (and subsequently amended on August 3, 2021), the Company has a senior secured revolving credit facility (the “Revolving Credit Facility”) in place which provides for borrowings of up to $600.0 million and two term loan facilities (“Term Loan A” and “Term Loan B”, together the “Term Loan Facilities”) which provided for borrowings of $300.0 million and $540.0 million, respectively.
Total amounts outstanding under the Revolving Credit Facility and the Term Loan Facilities were $900.7 million as of December 31, 2023. Based on the terms of the Credit Agreement, we may be required to use a portion of the proceeds from the Vegetables exit process (if and when completed) to make a prepayment on the Term Loan Facilities. The estimated minimum prepayment associated with the terms of the Fresh Express Agreement has been reclassified from long-term debt, net, to current maturities in the consolidated balance sheets as of December 31, 2023. Because the Company now plans to exit the Fresh Vegetables division through an alternative process, the estimated minimum prepayment may change, potentially to a material extent.
Dole’s borrowings under these facilities and other borrowing arrangements are linked to both variable and fixed interest rates. We have entered into interest rate swaps in order to mitigate a significant portion of the interest rate risk associated with its variable-rate debt. In the second quarter of 2023, we amended the Credit Agreement to adopt SOFR in place of LIBOR as the U.S. dollar benchmark. The adoption of SOFR did not have a material impact to Dole.
Both cash and debt are denominated in various currencies, though primarily in the U.S. dollar, euro, British pound sterling and Swedish krona.
The Revolving Credit Facility and Term Loan Facilities are expected to provide long-term sustainable capitalization. See Note 14 “Debt” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional detail on the Company’s debt.
Total Available Liquidity
Total available liquidity (defined as cash and cash equivalents plus available lines of credit) as of December 31, 2023 and December 31, 2022 was as follows:
December 31,
2023
December 31,
2022
(U.S. Dollars in thousands)
Cash and cash equivalents$275,580 $228,840 
Lines of credit721,516 568,696 
Total available liquidity
$997,096 $797,536 
In addition, we utilize third-party trade receivables sales arrangements to help manage our liquidity. Certain arrangements contain recourse provisions through which our maximum financial loss is limited to a percentage of receivables sold under the arrangements. Total facility amounts under all third-party trade receivables sales arrangements were $285.0 million in the aggregate as of December 31, 2023.
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On May 23, 2022, Dole entered into a new three-year, committed trade receivables arrangement with recourse provisions that terminated $39.3 million of the Company’s existing non-recourse facilities. The maximum amount of receivables that can be sold under this new agreement at any time is $255.0 million. We derecognize the sold receivables from the consolidated balance sheets, as we account for the arrangements as sales under ASC 860, Transfers and Servicing.
Upon the execution of the new arrangement and initial derecognition of sold receivables, we received total gross cash proceeds of $206.9 million. Most of the initial cash proceeds were used to pay down certain balances on the Revolving Credit Facility.
As of December 31, 2023, we had derecognized trade receivables related to non-recourse facilities and facilities with recourse provisions of $13.2 million and $246.8 million, respectively. As of December 31, 2022 we had derecognized trade receivables related to non-recourse facilities and facilities with recourse provisions of $11.9 million and $237.2 million, respectively.
Material Cash Requirements
Capital Expenditures
Capital expenditures are cash outflows or commitments that result in additions to property, plant and equipment or other long-lived assets. Capital expenditures for the year ended December 31, 2023 were $78.0 million, as compared to $85.6 million for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Principal capital expenditures planned for 2024 consist primarily of reinvestment in logistics assets, including vessel dry dockings, logistics equipment reinvestments and vehicles reinvestments, ongoing reinvestments in existing farming assets, both with replanting and new investments, investments in warehousing, cold storage, ripening and processing equipment across the business and continued investment in ongoing IT projects. The Company expects to fund these capital expenditures through operating cash flows, existing bank borrowings and, potentially, finance leases in lieu of direct capital investments. Budgeted capital expenditures are not contractual and planned projects can be scaled back if the Company’s strategic objectives or economic conditions change.
Contractual Commitments
The following table sets forth Dole’s contractual maturities of certain significant commitments as of December 31, 2023:
Contractual Maturity
2024Thereafter
(U.S. Dollars in thousands)
Debt and bank overdrafts$223,904 $836,748 
Estimated interest payments1
52,247 178,714 
Finance lease obligations7,934 29,384 
Operating lease obligations75,893 352,240 
Accrued income taxes2
13,480 16,664 
Purchase commitments:
For ensuring a steady supply of inventory3
908,865 817,087 
For fixed assets and other8,111 46 
Total$1,290,434 $2,230,883 
1 Estimated interest payments comprise payments for interest on borrowings. This does not include interest expense for certain short-term borrowing lines and overdraft facilities, fees related to trade receivables sales arrangements, commitment fees and amortization of discounts and issuance costs. Interest payments are calculated for debt based on applicable rates and payment dates. For variable-rate debt, the December 31, 2023 rate has been assumed for all years presented. We note that this is an estimate of future payments and that actual amounts will vary to some degree, the extent of which cannot be estimated at this time, as interest rates are expected to change in the short-term.
2 Liabilities of $12.0 million for unrecognized tax benefits plus accrued interest and penalties have been excluded from the table above. At this time, the settlement period for unrecognized tax benefits cannot be determined. In addition, any payment related to unrecognized tax benefits may be partially or fully offset by reductions in payments in other jurisdictions.
3 In order to secure sufficient product, packaging, agrochemicals and other supplies to meet demand and maximize volume incentive rebates, the Company has historically entered into non-cancelable agreements with independent vendors and growers for purchases in the normal course of business.
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Timing of payments for the above contractual obligations is based on payment schedules for those obligations where set payments exist. For other obligations with no set payment schedules, estimates for the most likely timing of cash payments have been made. The ultimate timing of these future cash flows may differ from the estimates.
Information regarding pension commitments and funding requirements is not included in the table above. The level of contributions to pension plans is determined according to statutory minimum funding requirements, as well as Dole’s own policies. Depending on the country and the plan, the funding level is monitored periodically, and the contribution amount amended appropriately. Consequently, the amounts that might become payable in the future cannot be estimated with certainty. In the year ended December 31, 2023, employer contributions and direct benefit payments related to our defined benefit pension and other postretirement benefit plans amounted to $19.4 million and are estimated to be $22.3 million for the year ended December 31, 2024. Refer to Note 15 “Employee Benefit Plans” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for further information on employee benefit obligations.
In addition, our current capital allocation priorities are focused on investing wisely to support growing both our business operations and dividend payment. On November 15, 2023, the Board of Directors of Dole plc declared a cash dividend of $0.08 per share. The dividend was subsequently paid on January 4, 2024 for a total payment of $7.6 million. On February 28, 2024, the Board of Directors of Dole plc declared a cash dividend of $0.08 per share, to be paid on April 4, 2024. We expect to pay dividends from funds received from subsidiary operations which may be restricted as a result of the laws of their jurisdiction or organization. We do not intend to change our dividend policy in the near or long term, but we may not pay dividends according to the policy, or at all, as determined at the discretion of the Board of Directors, acting in compliance with applicable laws and contractual restrictions.
We expect to fund contractual obligations and other expected capital commitments with existing cash, cash flows from operations, and available borrowings when necessary, and believe we have sufficient sources of liquidity to do so.
Contingencies and Guarantees
In connection with certain acquisitions, we have issued contingent consideration through earn-out agreements in which we are subject to making future payments that are contingent on the acquiree or investment achieving certain financial targets. As of December 31, 2023, the fair value of contingent consideration arrangements amounted to $9.1 million, expected to be paid from 2024 to 2027.
We have certain noncontrolling interests (“NCI”) that contain put options for the related subsidiary, which obligate the Company to acquire the NCI’s shareholding in the subsidiary at a future date upon exercise. The exercise prices of the put options are based on future earnings of the underlying subsidiary and classified as redeemable NCI in mezzanine equity. As of December 31, 2023, the carrying value of redeemable NCI was $34.2 million with a total gross redemption value of $40.3 million, had the options been exercised at December 31, 2023, payable over a maximum of three years.
As of December 31, 2023, Dole was contingently liable for guarantees of indebtedness owed by third parties and investments in unconsolidated affiliates of $48.6 million and $6.4 million, respectively. These guarantees are typically issued in respect of bank borrowings and trading obligations arising in the ordinary course of business, have various terms and are not individually significant. These amounts represent the maximum potential future payments that Dole could be required to make under the guarantees. However, management has concluded that the likelihood of any significant amounts being paid by Dole under these guarantees is not likely.
In addition to those already described, Dole is subject to various contingencies with respect to taxes, labor, litigation and other claims that arise in the normal course of business. Contingencies contain inherent uncertainties and to the extent that we believe these contingencies will probably be realized, a liability has been recorded in the consolidated balance sheets. Based on information currently available to the Company and legal advice, we believe other such items will not, individually or in the aggregate, have a material adverse effect on the consolidated financial statements. Refer to Note 19 “Contingencies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for further detail on Dole’s contingencies.
Off-Balance Sheet Arrangements
Other than the third party trade receivables sales arrangements and various guarantees described above, the Company does not have any other off-balance sheet arrangements that have, or are reasonably likely to have, a material current or future impact to the consolidated financial statements.
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C.    Research and development, patents and licenses, etc.
We implement certain research and development programs and policies in the normal course of business that are predominantly focused on sustaining the productivity of company-owned agricultural lands, food safety, nutrition science, product quality, biological pest control, development of disease-resistant produce, value-added product development and packaging design. Current and historical research and development costs incurred by the Company are not material and research and development initiatives are not expected to have a material impact on the Company’s results in the future. Refer to Note 2 “Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for further detail.
D.    Trend information
As outlined in “Item 5A. Operating Results”, results of operations are affected by numerous factors, including the balance between the supply of and demand for products and competition from other fresh produce companies. Our results of operations are also dependent on the ability to supply a consistent volume and quality of fresh produce to served markets. Set forth below are other general key factors that have had and may have a significant impact on Dole’s results of operations in the future.
Supply / Demand Management and Price Fluctuations
Matching marketplace demand with supply from Dole-owned farms and local and global producers is a core competency for our business. Fresh produce supply and demand management is complicated by the inherent perishability and relatively short shelf-life of these products and the influence of environmental factors beyond our immediate control, including unexpected weather events and climate change. For example, a warm spell can drive higher strawberry sales, while persistent cold weather can reduce those sales. Overly cold or overly warm weather can disrupt the timing of production, and, when more severe, weather can limit yields and supply overall. Adverse weather may also impact supply chains, preventing us from procuring supplies necessary for company operations and delivering products to customers. Outsized weather events and natural disasters may disrupt entire seasons of operations and can require significant investments in order to fund recovery. Prices and margins fluctuate accordingly. Supply planning traverses seasons and continents and is often conducted months in advance of sale, limiting our capacity to adjust volumes. However, because of the diversity of our customers and producers, as well as our ability to match longer-term supply contracts with longer-term sales contracts and shorter-term supply with more market volumes and pricing, we are able to maintain flexibility to adequately manage operations.
Foreign Currency Fluctuations
Dole is exposed to purchases and sales transactions in several local currencies, primarily the U.S. dollar, euro, Swedish krona, British pound sterling, Costa Rican Colón and Chilean peso. Refer to discussion above in “Item 5A Operating and Segment Results” as well as further discussion in “Item 3D. Risk Factors-currency exchange fluctuations may impact the results of our operations” and “Item 11. Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures about Market Risk.” for additional information on foreign currency fluctuations.
Competitor Activity
By virtue of the geographic, product and sectoral diversity evident across the business, Dole’s operations are affected by the activities of a wide variety of competitors in different product categories and sales channels. Competition can be regional or sector specific, can affect individual business units or can influence the wider marketplace. Increased competition, while typically lowering prices and margins in general, can also result in reduced volumes arising from the loss of key categories or customers.
Climate Change and Sustainability
Dole conducts business, grows produce and sources product in certain jurisdictions that have imposed, or are considering imposing, new or increased legal and regulatory requirements to reduce or mitigate the potential effects of climate change, including regulation of greenhouse gas emissions and potential carbon pricing programs, and to increase transparency in the areas of environmental, social and corporate governance matters through more robust reporting requirements. Compliance with these legal, regulatory and reporting requirements will likely result in increased costs and additional investment in facilities, new employees and external advisors, equipment and process-improvement. However, the extent of the impact on our financial results, scope and timing of any new or increased regulation related to climate change is uncertain and cannot be estimated at this time.
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Effective in January of 2024, the EU expanded the scope of its greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme (“ETS”) to include maritime transport, which covers our commercial cargo business and other maritime shipping operations in Europe. This scheme, which had until now applied primarily to industrial companies and airlines, is a cap-and-trade system for carbon dioxide (“CO2”) emissions to encourage industries to improve their CO2 efficiency. Under the legislation, we will be required to purchase allowances on the open market for our CO2 emissions from maritime operations in Europe. The scope of our emissions that are covered includes 100% of emissions on voyages departing from and arriving at a port under jurisdiction of the EU and 50% of emissions on voyages departing from a country outside of the EU and arriving at an EU port or departing from an EU port and arriving in a port located in a non-EU country. The ETS for the maritime industry will be phased-in, whereby we will have to purchase allowances for 40% of our emissions in scope in 2024, 70% in 2025 and 100% in 2026 and thereafter. While the ETS is expected to have an adverse impact on our operating results, beginning in 2024, the extent of such impact based on the current estimated cost of allowances is not expected to be material. However, we are currently unable to fully assess our ability to obtain sufficient carbon credits or the potential for the future cost of such credits to have a material adverse effect on our business, operations or financial condition.
In addition to the impacts from regulatory and compliance requirements discussed above, from time to time, we have been and most likely will continue to be impacted by adverse weather events, whose effects may be exacerbated by climate change. While supply impacts can be mitigated through our diversified sourcing portfolio and contract management, any incremental costs and write-offs from weather-related events may be material to Dole’s future operations and cannot be reliably estimated. However, the Company aims to abate these potential impacts through insurance arrangements against weather-related events and continuing maintenance and investment initiatives to improve the durability of our fixed asset portfolio.
Furthermore, we expect to incur additional costs in connection with our commitment to and execution of our sustainability goals. We have recently developed sustainability goals for 2025 and 2030, which include initiatives focused on environmental sustainability, as well as on our governance and social impact. We have already made important progress in lowering our environmental footprint. For example, in 2022, we reduced our Scope 1 and Scope 2 global emissions by 12% from 2020. This reduction is primarily attributable to investments in two new and more efficient vessels to transport produce from Latin America to the U.S., the cost of which was approximately $50.0 million in total and was funded by long-term borrowing arrangements, a reduction in our use of refrigerants and an increased reliance on renewable energy sources. Other notable projects in recent years include the deployment of two 2.8 Megawatt wind turbines at our salad processing plant in Soledad, California, increases in investments in plantings of non-fruit bearing trees on owned land, the installation of solar panels at facilities in Ireland, Czechia, Brazil and the U.K. and electrification projects at our San Diego port operations that resulted in the addition of five new electric utility rigs and two new electric yard hustlers. While we expect to make additional expenditures to meet our sustainability goals, at this time, the scope, timing and extent of these additional expenditures is uncertain and cannot be estimated. Refer to “Item 4b. Business Overview” for further detail on the Company’s sustainability and environmental initiatives.
While we believe our environmental, sustainability and governance goals align with our financial and operational priorities, they are aspirational and may change, and there is no guarantee that they will be met or that they will not have a material impact on our future results.
Regulatory Restrictions, Restrictions on Free Trade and Tariffs
International regulatory restrictions, the application of tariffs and restrictions on free trade by nations or trading blocs can influence the performance of the Company both directly, if sales are impacted by issues in a core market, and indirectly, if competitor volumes are diverted into core markets from markets where the Company does not compete as strongly. Restrictions vary but can take the form of outright bans on the imports of products, regulatory restrictions which preclude the importation of products grown outside of strict specifications or taxes applied to disincentivize importation from other countries. Dole’s exposure to regulatory restrictions or restrictions on free trade and tariffs will typically depend on the profile of any given business unit’s produce sales and customer base.
E.    Critical Accounting Estimates.
The preparation of consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP requires management to make estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenue and expenses. The Company bases estimates on past experience and other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances, and management evaluates these estimates on an ongoing basis. Actual results may differ from those estimates.
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Critical accounting estimates are those that materially affect or could affect the consolidated financial statements and involve difficult, subjective or complex judgments by management. A thorough understanding of these critical accounting estimates and their underlying nature, assumptions and inputs is essential when reviewing the consolidated financial statements of the Company. Management believes that the accounting estimates listed below are the most critical, as they involve the use of significant estimates and assumptions as described above.
See Note 2 “Basis of Presentation and Summary of Significant Accounting Policies” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for more information on Dole’s accounting policies.
Goodwill and Indefinite-Lived Intangible Assets
Goodwill represents amounts arising on the acquisition of subsidiaries or equity-accounted affiliates as a result of the fair value of consideration transferred exceeding the fair value of net identifiable assets and liabilities assumed in a business combination. Goodwill is allocated to reporting units and is not amortized but is tested annually for impairment on the first day of the fourth quarter each financial year and more frequently when events or changes in circumstance indicate that it may be impaired.
During the annual goodwill impairment test, management may assess qualitative factors to determine whether it is more likely than not that the fair value of each reporting unit with goodwill is less than its carrying amount. Qualitative factors include, but are not limited to, industry and market considerations, overall financial performance and other relevant events and factors affecting the reporting unit. If the results of the qualitative assessment indicate that it is more likely than not that the fair value of a reporting unit is less than its carrying value, a quantitative assessment is required for that reporting unit. Alternatively, the Company may bypass the qualitative assessment and perform a quantitative impairment test.
For the fiscal year 2023 annual impairment assessment of each reporting unit with goodwill, the Company elected to bypass the qualitative assessment and perform the quantitative assessment with the assistance of a third-party specialist. We used an income approach (discounted cash flows) to estimate the fair value of each reporting unit. Key drivers in the fair value analysis included the allocation of net assets to reporting units, discount rates and long-term growth rates to derive expected future cash flows. Cash flow projections used in the fair value analysis are considered Level 3 inputs and generally consist of management’s estimates of revenue growth rates and profitability, which for management is based on Adjusted EBITDA. The values applied to these key assumptions are derived from a combination of external and internal factors, based on past experience coupled with management’s future expectations about business performance. Discount rates used in the analysis are generally estimated by calculating a reporting unit-specific weighted average cost of capital to reflect the market assessment of risks specific to that reporting unit.
Dole’s reporting units are its reportable segments. As of the testing date of October 1, 2023, goodwill was allocated to the Company’s reporting units as follows:1
10/1/2023
(U.S. Dollars in millions)
Fresh Fruit$273.3 
Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA139.0 
Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW88.6 
1 No goodwill is allocated to the Fresh Vegetables reporting unit.
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The quantitative tests as of October 1, 2023 indicated two of Dole’s reporting units with allocated goodwill were considered to be at risk of future impairment. The fair values of the Fresh Fruit and Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reporting units were approximately 4% and 2% above their carrying amounts, respectively. All assets in the Fresh Fruit reporting unit and a significant amount of assets in the Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW were obtained from the acquisition of Legacy Dole in July of 2021. The fair value of these reporting units has been impacted from an increase in the discount rate (weighted average cost of capital) assumptions as of the October 1, 2023 measurement date. The impact of this headwind was offset by positive trends in forecasted cash flows, primarily in the Fresh Fruit and the Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA reporting units and, to a lesser extent, within the Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reporting unit. A 25-basis point increase in the applied discount rates would have resulted in an impairment of approximately $4.1 million in the goodwill allocated to the Diversified Fresh Produce – Americas & ROW reporting unit and headroom of less than 1% for the Fresh Fruit reporting unit. Unfavorable changes to key assumptions, market conditions and macroeconomic circumstances could result in future impairment. The quantitative test for the Diversified Fresh Produce – EMEA reporting unit indicated its fair value is sufficiently above its carrying amount.
The Company’s indefinite-lived intangibles other than goodwill are considered to have indefinite lives, because they are expected to generate cash flows indefinitely. These indefinite-lived intangible assets are not amortized but are reviewed for impairment as of the first day of the fourth quarter of each fiscal year, or sooner if impairment indicators arise. To test these assets for impairment, the Company may first perform a qualitative assessment to determine if it is more likely than not that the carrying amount of each of its indefinite-lived intangible assets exceeds its fair value. If this test indicates the fair value is less than the carrying amount, a quantitative assessment is performed. Alternatively, the qualitative impairment test may be bypassed, and the Company may elect to perform a quantitative test.
For the 2023 annual impairment assessment of the DOLE brand indefinite-lived intangible asset, the Company elected to bypass the qualitative assessment and perform the quantitative assessment with the assistance of a third-party specialist. The DOLE brand was valued using a relief from royalty rate approach as of the testing date of October 1, 2023. The key assumptions in the fair value analysis were the royalty rates used to estimate royalty payments saved by owning the brand, the expected long-term growth rate and the discount rate (weighted average cost of capital). These assumptions were developed with the assistance of a third-party specialist and consider comparable market data, company-specific factors and management’s estimates of revenue growth rates and profitability.
The quantitative test as of October 1, 2023 indicated the DOLE brand was considered to be at risk for future impairment. The fair value of the DOLE brand exceeded its carrying amount by approximately 2%. The carrying amount of the DOLE brand was $306.3 million at the testing date. As with the quantitative goodwill impairment tests, the decline in fair value of the brand is largely due to the increase in the discount rate (weighted average cost of capital) assumptions as of the October 1, 2023 measurement date. The unfavorable impact of this assumption was offset by positive trends in forecasted cash flows. A 25-basis point increase in the discount rate would have resulted in headroom of less than 1%. Unfavorable changes to key assumptions, market conditions and macroeconomic circumstances could result in future impairment.
For each of the other indefinite-lived intangible assets, the Company performed qualitative assessments. These assessments indicated the fair values of the indefinite-lived intangible assets exceeded their carrying values. Therefore, no impairment was recorded.
As of December 31, 2023, management is not aware of any items or events that would cause an adjustment to the carrying amount of goodwill or other indefinite-lived intangible assets.
Income Taxes
Dole is subject to income taxes in Ireland, the U.S. and numerous other foreign jurisdictions. Income taxes are accounted for under the asset and liability method, which requires the recognition of deferred tax assets and liabilities for the expected future tax consequences of events that have been included in the financial statements. Under this method, deferred tax assets and liabilities are determined based on the differences between the financial statement and tax basis of assets and liabilities using enacted tax rates in effect for the year in which the differences are expected to reverse. The effect of a change in tax rates on deferred tax assets and liabilities is recognized in income tax expense or benefit in the period that includes the enactment date.
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Income tax expense or benefit, deferred tax assets and liabilities and liabilities for unrecognized tax benefits reflect management’s best estimate of current and future taxes to be paid. Significant judgments and estimates are required in the determination of the consolidated income tax expense or benefit. Deferred income taxes arise from temporary differences between the tax basis of assets and liabilities and their reported amounts in the financial statements, which will result in taxable or deductible amounts in the future. In evaluating the ability to recover deferred tax assets in the jurisdiction from which they arise, all available positive and negative evidence is considered, including scheduled reversals of deferred tax liabilities, projected future taxable income, tax-planning strategies and results of recent operations. In projecting future taxable income, historical results are adjusted for the results of discontinued operations and assumptions about the amount of future state, federal and foreign pretax operating income adjusted for items that do not have tax consequences. The assumptions about future taxable income require the use of significant judgment and are consistent with the plans and estimates used to manage the underlying businesses.
The calculation of tax liabilities involves dealing with uncertainties in the application of complex tax laws and regulations in a multitude of jurisdictions across the Company’s global operations. ASC 740, Income Taxes (“ASC 740”), states that a tax benefit from an uncertain tax position may be recognized when it is more likely than not that the position will be sustained upon examination, including resolutions of any related appeals or litigation processes, on the basis of the technical merits. Dole (1) records unrecognized tax benefits as liabilities in accordance with ASC 740 and (2) adjusts these liabilities when judgments change as a result of the evaluation of new information not previously available. Because of the complexity of some of these uncertainties, the ultimate resolution may result in a payment that is materially different from the current estimate of the unrecognized tax benefit liabilities. These differences will be reflected as increases or decreases to income tax expense or benefit in the consolidated statement of operations in the period in which new information is available.
In the normal course of business, Dole and its respective subsidiaries are examined by various federal, state and foreign tax authorities. Management regularly assesses the potential outcomes of these examinations and any future examinations for the current or prior years in determining the adequacy of its provision for income taxes. Additional provisions for income taxes are established when, despite the belief that tax positions are fully supportable, positions remain that do not meet the minimum probability threshold, which is a tax position that is more likely than not to be sustained upon examination by the applicable taxing authority. In addition, once the recognition threshold for the tax position is met, only the portion of the tax benefit that is greater than 50% likely to be realized upon settlement with a taxing authority is recorded. The impact of provisions for uncertain tax positions, as well as the related net interest and penalties, are included in income tax expense or benefit in the consolidated statements of operations.
Pension and Other Post-Retirement Benefits
Dole has a number of pension and other post-retirement benefit plans globally, both qualified and nonqualified, covering certain full-time employees. Benefits under these plans are generally based on each employee’s eligible compensation and years of service, except for certain plans covering union employees, which are based on negotiated benefits. Pension costs and obligations are calculated based on actuarial assumptions, including discount rates, compensation increases, expected return on plan assets, mortality rates and other factors.
Pension obligations and expenses are most sensitive to the discount rate and expected return on pension plan assets assumptions. Management determines the expected return on pension plan assets based on an expectation of average annual returns over an extended period of years considering the asset allocation of the plans. In the absence of a change in our asset allocation or investment philosophy, this estimate is not expected to vary significantly from year to year.
For our pension plans, the discount rate is determined based on a hypothetical portfolio of high-quality, non-callable, zero-coupon bonds with amounts and maturities that match the projected future benefit payments from that plan. The weighted average discount rates for Dole’s U.S. pension plan obligations and net periodic benefit income were 5.10% and 5.31%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2023. A 25-basis point decrease in the discount rates would increase the projected benefit obligation for the U.S. pension plans by $3.2 million, and the impact to the net periodic benefit income would be minimal. The weighted average discount rate of Dole’s international pension plan obligations and net periodic benefit cost was 5.06% and 5.26%, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2023. A 25-basis point decrease in the assumed discount rate would increase the projected benefit obligation and decrease the net periodic benefit cost for the international pension plans by $6.8 million and $0.4 million, respectively.
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For our funded U.S. plan, the pension expense for the year ended December 31, 2023 was determined using an expected annual rate of return on plan assets of 6.80%. As of December 31, 2023, our U.S. pension plan investment portfolio was invested approximately 23% in equity securities, 51% in fixed income securities and 14% in real estate, with the remainder in other investments. A 25-basis point change in the expected rate of return on pension plan assets would impact net periodic benefit income for the year ended December 31, 2023 by $0.5 million.
For our international plans outside the U.S., the pension expense for the year ended December 31, 2023 was determined using an expected annual rate of return of plan assets of 4.36%. As of December 31, 2023, the investment portfolio of international pension plans was invested approximately 13% in equity securities, 33% in fixed income securities and 6% in real estate, with the remainder in other investments. A 25-basis point change in the expected rate of return on pension plan assets would impact net periodic benefit cost for the year ended December 31, 2023 by $0.5 million.
While management believes that the assumptions used are appropriate, actual results may differ materially from these assumptions. These differences may impact the amount of pension and other postretirement obligations and future expense. Refer to Note 15 “Employee Benefit Plans” to the consolidated financial statements included herein for additional details of our pension and other postretirement benefit plans.
Item 6.        Directors, Senior Management and Employees
A.    Directors and senior management.
Directors and Executive Officers
Set forth below are the names, ages and positions of our directors and executive officers as of the date hereof.
NameAge Position
Carl McCann70Executive Chair and Director
Rory Byrne63Chief Executive Officer and Director
Johan Lindén57Chief Operating Officer and Director
Jacinta Devine51Chief Financial Officer and Director
Timothy M. George71Director
Imelda Hurley52Director
Rose Hynes66Director
Michael Meghen69Director
Helen Nolan66Director
Jimmy Tolan60Director
Kevin Toland58Director
Our directors and executive officers are as follows:
Carl McCann, BBS, MA, FCA, has been a director since February 2021 and serves as our Executive Chair of the Board of Directors. Mr. McCann served as Executive Chair of Total Produce, a role he assumed in 2006. As Executive Chair, Mr. McCann led Total Produce through numerous strategic initiatives and operational achievements, including its growth and expansion across European and North American markets, and more recently, its combination with Dole Food Company. With over 40 years in the fresh produce industry, Mr. McCann began his career at KPMG and then moving to work in FII, later renamed Fyffes, in 1980. During this time, he held roles of increasing leadership, including Finance Director, Vice Chair and Executive Chair, while also overseeing the execution of strategic priorities across the business. He notably led FII through its acquisition of Fyffes in 1986 and of Dutch company Velleman in the late 1990’s, both of which allowed the company to expand into key regions across continental Europe and the U.K. Mr. McCann was appointed Chair of Fyffes in 2003, before assuming his role of Executive Chair at Total Produce on the demerger of Total Produce and Fyffes. In addition to these roles, Mr. McCann is also Chair of Balmoral International Land Holdings plc (“Balmoral”) and serves on the boards of several other companies. We believe that Mr. McCann is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his strategic vision for the Company and his long experience as an executive director of publicly traded companies. He earned his undergraduate and master’s degrees from Trinity College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
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Rory Byrne, B Comm, FCA, has been a director since February 2021 and serves as our Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Byrne was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Total Produce in 2006. Mr. Byrne led Total Produce through 15 years of sustained profitability and significant acquisition-led and organic expansion, with total Group revenues more than tripling during his tenure, from $1.9 billion in 2006 to $6.5 billion in 2021. While serving as Chief Executive Officer, he also oversaw Total Produce’s expansion into North American markets, including Total Produce’s 2013 investment in Canada-based Oppy and recent combination with Dole Food Company. Mr. Byrne has 34 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, having begun his career at Fyffes in 1988. At Fyffes, he held a number of senior positions including Finance Director of the Group’s U.K. business and Managing Director of its Spanish operations before becoming Managing Director of the General Produce Division in 2002. Mr. Byrne is well recognized across the industry for his unique combination of leadership ability, strategic vision, creativity and strong drive for success. We believe that Mr. Byrne is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his very extensive experience as a leader in the fresh produce industry and his experience as an executive director of a publicly traded company. He earned his undergraduate degree from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Johan Lindén, BBA, MBA, has been a director since July 2021 and serves as our Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Lindén was appointed as President and Chief Executive Officer of Dole Food Company in 2017. He began his career at Dole Food Company in 2000 within the European operations, initially serving as general manager at Dole Food Company’s value-added operation until 2008. From 2005 to 2008, he additionally acted as Deputy General Manager for Dole Food Company’s Swedish wholesale operation. In 2008, Mr. Lindén was promoted to General Manager Fresh Fruit Northern Europe and was subsequently promoted to President Dole Europe in 2010. In 2015, Mr. Lindén relocated to Dole Food Company’s U.S. corporate headquarters where he served as President and Chief Operating Officer. We believe that Mr. Lindén is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his tenure as a senior leader within Dole Food Company and his extensive global experience within the produce industry. Mr. Lindén holds a B.B.A. in Business Administration from Schiller International University, Germany, with some of his undergraduate studies being completed at Iowa State University. He attended graduate school at Harvard University and earned his MBA from the University of Cape Town.
Jacinta Devine, FCA, was appointed to the Board on June 30, 2022 and serves as our Chief Financial Officer. Prior to this appointment, she served as Company Secretary of Dole plc. Ms. Devine was appointed to the role of Company Secretary of Total Produce plc in 2017 having previously held the role of Assistant Company Secretary. Ms. Devine joined the Group in 1996 and during this time has held a number of senior accounting and financial positions including Divisional Finance Director of Ireland and the U.K. We believe that Ms. Devine is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to her longstanding experience in leadership positions in Total Produce and Dole plc, her understanding of finance and financial reporting processes, her experience in senior financial positions and her experience and knowledge of corporate governance matters from her time as company secretary of a publicly traded company. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Timothy M. George, BA, MBA, has been a director since July 2021. Mr. George is Group Head of Lazard’s Consumer Retail and Leisure Group and a Vice Chair of Lazard. He has more than 35 years of experience in the investment banking industry and has advised numerous companies in recent years in the consumer, food, beverage and retail sectors including Alcon, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Diageo PLC, Dine Brands Global, Firmenich, General Mills, Givaudan, Kraft Heinz, McCain Foods, McDonald’s, Nestlé, Novartis, Post Holdings, Wendy’s International, Burger King and 3G Capital. Prior to joining Lazard, Mr. George was a Founding Partner of Greenhill & Co., LLC and a member of Greenhill’s Management Committee. Mr. George also headed Greenhill’s Consumer Products, Food and Beverage Group. Before joining Greenhill & Co., he held numerous senior roles in Morgan Stanley & Co., including Global Head of the Food, Beverage and Consumer Products Group - which he founded in 1989. Prior to 1984, Mr. George was a Vice President of Goldman Sachs and Assistant Treasurer of J.P. Morgan & Co. Mr. George served on the Board of Trustees of The University of Chicago and was formerly a member of its Executive Committee and Chair of the Board’s Financial Planning Committee. Also, he was a member of the Advisory Council of the Board of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Mr. George also served on the Board of Directors of Seminis, Inc., the largest developer, grower and marketer of fruit and vegetable seeds in the world. We believe that Mr. George is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his experience in U.S. leadership positions in investment banking and his detailed knowledge of the food industry. Mr. George has an MBA in Accounting and Finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a BA in Economics and Finance from The University of Chicago.
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Imelda Hurley, FCA, BBS, has been a director since July 2021 and is a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Hurley was appointed to the Board of Total Produce as a Non-Executive Director in January 2019 and was a member of the Audit and Nomination Committees. Ms. Hurley has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles across a variety of sectors, including significant international food and agri-industry experience. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Coillte (appointed in 2019), Ireland’s commercial state forestry company - which is responsible for managing over one million acres of primary forested land. In addition, she is a Non-Executive Director of IBEC, the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, which is Ireland’s largest business representative group, and previously served as President of that organization. From 2014 to 2018, Ms. Hurley was an Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer at Origin Enterprises plc, an international agri-services business. From 2011 to 2014, she was based between Hong Kong and the People’s Republic of China where she was Chief Financial Officer and Head of Sustainability for PCH International, a Silicon Valley-backed product development and supply chain management business. From 2001 to 2011, she held various positions including that of Group Finance Director at Greencore Group plc, an international convenience food producer. In addition, she worked in the Audit & Business Advisory practice of Arthur Andersen from 1994 to 2001. Ms. Hurley has also been a member of the Board of Bord Gais Eireann/Ervia, Ireland’s state-owned gas and electricity company, from 2010 to 2014 and served as Audit Committee Chair from 2011 to 2014. We believe that Ms. Hurley is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to her extensive experience in leadership positions in a number of large multinational food and supply chain management businesses, her understanding of finance and financial reporting processes and her experience as an executive director of a publicly traded company. Ms. Hurley holds a Bachelor of Business Studies from the University of Limerick in Ireland, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland and has completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School.
Rose Hynes, BCL, AITI, has been a director since July 2021, is the lead independent director and is Chair of the Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee. Ms. Hynes was a director of Total Produce from November 2006. She is also currently Chair of the Irish Aviation Authority and is a Non-Executive Director of Eir, an Irish telecommunications company. She is a member of the University of Limerick Foundation Board. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University since 2014. Ms. Hynes has over 30 years of experience as a Non-Executive Director, senior executive and a commercial lawyer. In 1988, she joined GPA Group plc, the aircraft leasing and financing company, and held a number of senior management positions, including General Counsel and Head of the Commercial Department. GPA was one of the world’s largest lessors and financiers of aircraft. She is a former Non-Executive Director of a number of companies, including Bank of Ireland, Fyffes plc, Aer Lingus Group plc and a former Chair of Bord Gais, the Irish Government-owned gas and electricity company, Shannon Group plc, the Irish Government-owned airport and property company and Origin Enterprises plc (the Irish and U.K. Stock Exchange listed Agri Services company). We believe that Ms. Hynes is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to her background as a lawyer and her wide-ranging experience as a senior non-executive director of other publicly traded companies. Ms. Hynes is a lawyer and a University College Dublin law graduate. She is an Associate of the Irish Institute of Taxation and of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. She also holds a Diploma in Applied Finance from the Irish Management Institute.
Michael Meghen, BBS LLB, has been a director since July 2021 and is chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Nomination and Corporate Governance Committee. Mr. Meghen was appointed to the Board of Total Produce as a Non-Executive Director in July 2018. Mr. Meghen was Chair of the Compensation Committee and a member of the Nomination Committee of Total Produce. For many years, he was a senior corporate partner at Arthur Cox, Ireland’s leading legal firm, in which he held a number of senior leadership roles and where he specialized in mergers and acquisitions. His years with Arthur Cox coincided with a period of transformational growth, both in the home market and internationally for many Irish businesses, and he led a diverse range of mergers, acquisitions and disposals across various industry sectors, including manufacturing, information technology, hotels, retailing and distribution. Mr. Meghen also has experience in the negotiation and implementation of acquisitions, joint ventures and commercial contracts in Europe and the U.S., as well as in Central and South America. Mr. Meghen was formerly a non-executive director of Mars Foods Ireland Limited. We believe that Mr. Meghen is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his background as a senior corporate lawyer and his in-depth experience of international mergers and acquisitions. Mr. Meghen is a lawyer and holds degrees in business and in law from Trinity College Dublin.
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Helen Nolan, B Comm, FCA, has been a director since July 2021 and is a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Nolan was appointed to the board of Total Produce as a Non-Executive Director in July 2019 and was a member of the Audit Committee. Ms. Nolan has extensive experience in senior leadership roles across a variety of industries. As a senior executive at Bank of Ireland Group plc, she held the roles of Group Secretary and Group Chief Internal Auditor. Prior to that, she held a number of senior finance roles in banking and life and pensions businesses, including Divisional Finance Officer for the Capital Markets Division of Bank of Ireland. Ms. Nolan currently holds the roles of Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at Aviva Life and Pensions Ireland DAC, Companjon Insurance DAC, a European digital insurance company backed by Swiss insurer La Molibiere, and previously held the role of Director at Our Lady’s Hospice and Care Services DAC. She is also a Director of the Institute of Directors Ireland, where she chairs the Finance and Governance Committee. She chaired the Audit Committee of the Irish Department of Agriculture for a number of years. We believe that Ms. Nolan is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to her experience in significant leadership positions and her understanding of finance and financial reporting processes. Ms. Nolan is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland, having trained with KPMG. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University College Dublin and completed the Columbia Senior Executive Program at Columbia Business School.
Jimmy Tolan, B Comm, FCA, has been a director since July 2021. Mr. Tolan has acted as an adviser to Total Produce on the initial investment in DFC Holdings in 2018 and has served on the Board of Dole Food Company since 2018. Mr. Tolan is currently Chair of Carechoice, one of Ireland’s leading nursing home providers and served as Chair of pharmacy retail group McCauley until its sale to Uniphar plc. Mr. Tolan has over 30 years of experience in the fresh produce industry, having joined Fyffes plc in 1990. He led the Corporate Development function in Fyffes from 1995 until he was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Fyffes in 2006, on the demerger of Total Produce and Fyffes. In 2008 Mr. Tolan was appointed Chief Executive Officer of VHI, Ireland’s largest health insurer, where he served as Chief Executive Officer until 2012. He subsequently led PwC Ireland’s healthcare advisory business between 2012 and 2014. Since 2015, Mr. Tolan has been a non-executive chair of a number of organizations. He is a former Chair of the Rehab Group, one of Ireland’s largest intellectual disability service providers. Mr. Tolan’s interest throughout his career, as both an executive and non-executive, is in supporting companies and organizations to achieve significant and sustainable growth. We believe that Mr. Tolan is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his significant experience in mergers and acquisitions in the fresh produce industry and his experience as a director and non-executive director of other publicly traded companies. Mr. Tolan holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree and a Diploma in Professional Accounting from University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland.
Kevin Toland, FCMA, has been a director since July 2021 and is Chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Compensation Committee. Mr. Toland was appointed to the board of Total Produce as a Non-Executive Director in July 2015 and was Chair of the Audit committee and a member of the Compensation Committee (prior Chair). He has 30 years of senior leadership experience in the beverage, food, nutrition, aviation and retail sectors. Mr. Toland was appointed as Chair of Ervia from 1 January 2023 and is also the chair of Invert Robotics Group Limited. He is Chair of Vasorum, a medical device company, and a Non-Executive Director of Bewleys. He was Chief Executive Officer of Aryzta AG, the global bakery company, from 2017 to 2020, prior to this he was Chief Executive Officer of daa plc, a state-owned international airport and airport related services group, from 2013 to 2017. Mr. Toland has also held various positions with Glanbia Plc, the global cheese and nutrition company, including Executive Director of Glanbia PLC from 2002 to 2012, Chief Executive and President of Glanbia USA and Global Nutritionals from 2005 to 2012 and prior to this, experiences including Group Development Director, Chief Executive Officer of Glanbia Consumer Foods and Group Strategy and Marketing Director. He has also worked with Coca Cola in Russia and Ireland and with Diageo in Budapest and Ireland in various senior leadership roles. Mr. Toland also served as a director of the Irish Business and Employers Confederation from 2014 to 2021, including as Chair of the Finance and Audit Committee from 2019 to 2021. He was Chair of Identigen, a private equity-owned AgriTech company, that was recently sold to Merck plc. We believe that Mr. Toland is qualified to serve on our Board of Directors due to his high-level leadership experience in the food industry and his experience as a director of other publicly traded companies. Mr. Toland is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and holds a Diploma in Applied Finance from the Irish Management Institute.
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B.    Compensation.
EXECUTIVE COMPENSATION
This section describes the remuneration of the executive directors of Dole plc, Carl McCann, Executive Chair; Rory Byrne, Chief Executive Officer; Johan Lindén, Chief Operating Officer; and Jacinta Devine, Chief Financial Officer (collectively referred to herein as our “named executive officers”).
Objectives
Our policy on the remuneration of our named executive officers is designed to ensure that employment and remuneration conditions for senior executives effectively reward, retain and motivate them to perform in the best interests of shareholders.
Total Direct Pay Compensation
Total direct pay in Dole plc for our named executive officers consists of three components: (1) basic pensionable salary, non-pensionable salary, as applicable, and director fees (together defined as “Fixed Salary”), (2) annual non-equity incentive awards, and (3) annual equity awards under the Dole plc 2021 Omnibus Incentive Compensation Plan (the “Omnibus Plan”).
Following a review by the Compensation Committee and the information gathered by and advice received from FW Cook, the Compensation Committee approved the fiscal year 2023 compensation and benefits provided to our named executive officers as set forth in the table below. Annual non-equity incentive awards are determined based on the achievement of certain strategic and performance targets, and annual equity awards are granted under the Omnibus Plan. The table below reflects Fixed Salary with effect from January 1, 2023.
NameDomestic CurrencyFixed Salary
Domestic Currency (1)
Annual Target Incentive Opportunity
(% of Fixed Salary)
Domestic Currency
Annual Target Equity Award
(% of Fixed Salary)
Domestic Currency
Carl McCannEuro€ 841,745
(70%) € 589,222
(100%) € 841,745
Rory Byrne
Euro€ 801,965
(100%) € 801,965
(150%) € 1,202,948
Johan Lindén
Euro€ 771,491
(100%) € 771,491
(100%) € 771,491
Jacinta Devine Euro € 440,000
(75%) € 330,000
(75%) € 330,000
(1) During 2023, Fixed Salary for J. Lindén of $848,640 was restated into euro at an agreed exchange rate of €1.00 to $1.10.
Our named executive officers are paid fees in respect of their director roles and responsibilities on the board of Dole plc (“director fees”). These fees are commensurate with fees paid to non-employee directors of Dole plc and form part of their Fixed Salary.
We do not have any written employment agreements with the named executive officers governing their duties and responsibilities as our executive directors.
Compensation Committee Role
The remuneration of our named executive officers is set by our Compensation Committee. In determining the terms and the amounts of our named executive officers’ compensation, our Compensation Committee primarily considers the types and amounts paid by the Group’s peer group companies to individuals in similar roles, the experience and performance of each executive and the amount needed to attract or retain, as applicable, a particular executive officer. The Compensation Committee also considers the objectives of the Group’s executive compensation program when determining the types and amount of compensation to be provided to our named executive officers.
Benchmarking
The Committee has retained the services of FW Cook, an independent executive compensation consulting firm, to review and advise on the Group’s executive compensation program, including the competitiveness of the Group’s executive compensation programs relative to comparable companies. FW Cook provides the Committee with relevant market data relating to each named executive officer’s position at Dole plc.
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The Committee reviews the external pay data provided by FW Cook to understand the relevant labor markets in which Dole plc competes for executive talent. To this end, multiple data sources are considered to facilitate a broad understanding of market pay rates. These sources include a custom group of industry peer companies agreed in conjunction with FW Cook. The custom peer group includes U.S. companies in related industries that roughly approximate Dole plc in terms of size across a variety of metrics, including annual revenues, Adjusted EBITDA and capitalization. The custom peer group is shown below and comprises twenty companies in comparable industries and will be subject to periodic review.
Campbell Soup
Casey’s General Stores
Conagra Brands
Darling Ingredients
Flowers Foods
Fresh Del Monte Produce
Gr