The newly-formed Dole plc has released the terms of its planned IPO, with the US fresh-produce major looking to raise almost US$600m.

Created earlier this year after the merger between Dole Food Co. and Ireland’s Total Produce was finalised, the company said today (19 July) it plans to offer 26 million shares at a price range of $20 to $23 each.

At the highest end of that range, the IPO would raise $598m.

Dole, which is lining up a flotation on the New York Stock Exchange, is looking to pay down debt and costs linked to the merger.

The combination of the privately-owned Dole Food Co. and publicly-listed Total Produce was announced in February.

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Through a deal struck in 2018, Total Produce already owned 45% of Dole Food Co.

“The transaction will simplify the existing structure between the two companies by unifying Dole and Total Produce under common ownership, with the objective of enabling full operational integration, realisation of synergies and value creation across the enlarged business,” a statement read at the time.

The companies said in February the new group would seek to raise $500-700m from the equity market to “strengthen and de-lever the combined balance sheet” against a target of three times net debt to adjusted EBITDA.

Under the terms of the IPO, Total Produce shareholders will own 61.3% of Dole plc, with Dole Food Co. investors holding 10.3% of the business. If the IPO’s underwriters exercise their options to buy additional shares in Dole plc, those stakes will be reduced to 59% and 9.6% respectively.

The IPO prospectus gave a pro-forma 2020 revenue of $9bn for Dole plc. It said its revenue was “approximately twice as large … as compared to its nearest competitor”, which the company set as Belgium’s Greenyard, with revenue of $5.2bn.

The merger and listing see Dole Food Co.’s nonagenarian billionaire owner David Murdock cede control of the company.

Murdock, then CEO, took the publicly-listed Dole Food Co. private in 2013.