Shares in US fruit and vegetable group Dole Foods dipped in morning trade today (23 October) after the company launched an initial public offering of 35.2m shares.

Shares were sold privately at US$12.50 each, below the expected $13-15 range. However, the shares, which began trading on the New York Stock Exchange, dipped further to $12.17 at 12.23pm (ET).

The company, which said proceeds from the IPO would be used to pay down debt.

However, there continues to be concern among investors that the company has a highly leveraged balance sheet.