Dole Food Co Inc, the world's largest producer and marketer of fresh fruits and vegetables, set terms for a planned initial public offering, including a price range and the number of shares it expects to sell, suggesting that the IPO is imminent.
Separately, frozen food company Birds Eye Foods Inc said it plans to raise up to $350 million in an IPO, adding to the list of companies taking advantage of recovering markets.
Dole said it expected to sell 35.7 million shares for between $13 and $15 each in an updated prospectus filed on Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The pricing of an IPO and its trading debut typically follow the announcement of terms by two to three weeks. The underwriters said an exact date for pricing had not been set.
Investor David Murdock bought a controlling interest in Dole's predecessor company, Castle & Cooke Inc, in 1985, and became chairman and chief executive.
The company changed its name to Dole in 1991 and sold off most of its real estate holdings in 1995, according to the filing.
Murdock, who is listed in the filing as owning all of Dole's common stock, took Dole private in 2003 in a deal valued at $2.5 billion. He will still own 59 percent of Dole's shares after the IPO, according to the filing.
Dole expects net proceeds from the IPO of $468 million, almost all of which will be used to pay down debt.
For the first half of 2009, sales fell 11.1 percent to $3.3 billion and profit slid 18.3 percent. The company had 2008 revenue of $7.6 billion and net income of $123 million.
Rival Chiquita Brands International Inc had revenue of $3.6 billion and a net loss of $323.7 million in 2008, while Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc had revenue of $3.53 billion and net income of $157.7 million.
Dole, founded in 1851, intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DOLE.
The IPO will be managed by Goldman Sachs & Co, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo.
Birds Eye, a frozen food industry pioneer now majority owned by private equity firm Vestar Capital Partners, plans to use net proceeds from the IPO to pay down its debt, according to its prospectus filed with the SEC.
The Rochester, New York company said in the filing that it held the top position in the frozen vegetables market.
It had sales of $935.6 million in the fiscal year ended in June 2009, up 7.8 percent from the year earlier, with a profit of $53.6 million. The IPO will be managed by JP Morgan.
(Reporting by Phil Wahba; Editing by Ted Kerr)