Dole Food Co Inc, the world's largest producer of fresh fruits and vegetables, filed with U.S. regulators on Friday to raise up to $500 million in an initial public offering of common stock.
A prospectus filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not reveal how many shares the company planned to sell or their expected price.
Dole, founded in 1851, intends to list its common stock on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DOLE and use proceeds to pay down debt and for other corporate purposes.
Dole had 2008 revenue of $7.6 billion and net income of $123 million.
Rival Chiquita Brands International Inc (CQB.N) had revenue of $3.6 billion and a net loss of $323.7 million in 2008, while Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc (FDP.N) had revenue of $3.53 billion and net income of $157.7 million.
In recent years, the fresh produce industry has benefited from consumers' interest in eating healthier, while also introducing more convenience-oriented, higher-margin products such as prepared bags of salad and single-serving cups of fresh fruit.
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 divested most of its real estate holdings in 1995, according to the securities filing.
In 2003, Murdock, who is listed in the filing as owning all of Dole's common stock, took Dole private in a deal valued at $2.5 billion.
The company said Goldman Sachs & Co, BofA Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo were underwriting the IPO.
(Reporting by Brad Dorfman in Chicago and Dhanya Skariachan in Bangalore; Editing by Derek Caney and Steve Orlofsky)