Dole to Sell Dried-Fruit Business to Sun Diamond : Food: Company also finalizes its deal to sell its juice and beverage operations to Seagram.

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Dole Food Co. said Monday that it will sell its California-based dried-fruit business to Sun Diamond Growers of California for $100 million.

At the same time, Dole said it reached a definite agreement to sell its worldwide juice and beverage business to Seagram Co. for $285 million. A preliminary agreement on the sale was announced in January.

Westlake Village-based Dole said the sale to Sun Diamond of Stockton, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter, does not include its almond and pistachio nut businesses or European-based dried-fruit units.

The company said it will license its brand name to Sun Diamond.

"It's not a huge deal but . . . Dole has a lot of debt to pay down," said Timothy S. Ramey, senior vice president and food industry analyst with CJ Lawrence/Deutsche Bank in New York. "They're making progress, and that's good to see."

Seagram, owner of the Tropicana fruit juice business, will buy Dole's juice operations, which have annual revenue of $320 million. Dole said its canned pineapple juice business is not included in the sale.

Dole's fruit juices are sold in the United States under the Dole, Juice Bowl and Looza trademarks; the Fruvita, Dole, Juice Bowl and Looza brands are sold in Europe, and Dole fruit juices are sold in Asia.

Seagram, based in Montreal, will acquire Dole's fruit and beverage manufacturing facilities in the United States and Europe, as well as interests in joint ventures in Japan and China.

The acquisition is expected to strengthen Seagram's Tropicana fruit juice business, which has annual sales of $1.5 billion.

Seagram is a major maker of distilled spirits and wines, and it has a large stake in DuPont de Nemours & Co., the chemicals manufacturer, and in Time Warner Inc., the media, publishing and entertainment giant.

The sale is expected to be completed by the end of April.

Dole shares rose $1 to $28.25 on the New York Stock Exchange, while Seagram shares were unchanged at $32, also on the NYSE.

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