Maui Land & Pine
sells Costa Rica operations

Dole Food has bought the pineapple
subsidiary for $15.3 million

Maui Land & Pineapple Co. has sold its Costa Rican subsidiary to Dole Food Co. Inc. for $15.3 million.

Maui Land & Pineapple ML&P had been growing pineapple in Costa Rica since 1999 and had a 51 percent ownership interest in the facility, said Paul Meyer, the company's executive vice president.

"We had four different shareholders, all local Costa Rican businessmen. It's been a very successful venture," Meyer said.

David Cole, president and chief executive officer of ML&P, said in a statement released yesterday that the company now planned to focus on new business initiatives in Hawaii.

Meyer said the company planned to use the money from the Costa Rican sale to reduce some of its debt and continue expanding its diversified agriculture operations. It also is looking at land development oppertunities.

Maui Land and Pineapple owns approximately 29,000 acres of land on Maui, of which 8,400 acres is in use. It's primary business activities include growing and canning pineapple, as well as the distribution and sale of fresh pineapple. It also developed and operates the Kapalua Resort in West Maui.

"There are a number of different things on the drawing board," Meyer said.

"I think our interests are in the business we have been in, namely agriculture, diversifying a bit from pineapple, perhaps decreasing our reliance on canned pineapple and expanding the range of development activities," he said.

Meyer declined to be more specific on what kind of development the company is considering.

The purchase adds to Dole's existing Costa Rica pineapple operations.

"This acquisition will enable Dole to better serve our customers, primarily in the Central and Eastern United States as well as Europe with increased supplies of Dole's Tropical Gold sweet pineapple from Costa Rica," said David Murdock, Dole chairman and chief executive officer.

Murdock took Dole private earlier this year in a $2.5 billion shareholder buyout.

The company was founded in Hawaii in 1851, but now has its corporate headquarters in Westlake Village, Calif. It has divested most of its Hawaii production, but grows pineapple on 4,000 acres in Wahiawa.


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