Belgian fresh and frozen foods producer Greenyard in advanced talks to buy Dole Food Co

Belgian fresh and frozen foods company Greenyard NV today announced that it was in advanced talks to buy fruit and vegetable producer Dole Food Company.

''At this stage, a definitive agreement has not been reached, and there can be no assurance that these negotiations will culminate in a transaction between the two companies,'' Greenyard said in a statement.

''Greenyard has secured appropriate financing, and is confident in its ability to complete the transaction with a balanced financing approach should a definitive agreement be reached,'' the statement added.

Euronext Brussels-listed Greenyard is one of the world's biggest producer of fresh, frozen and prepared fruit and vegetables. It also produces flowers and plants.

Founded in 1968 and based in Sint-Katelijne-Waver, Belgium, Greenyard employs more than 9,000 people, operates in 25 countries, has a market cap of €869 million ($1.03 billion) and has annual sales of €4.25 billion.

Founded in 1851, Dole Food is the largest producer of fruit and vegetables in the world selling more than 300 products in 90 countries.

Dole markets food items like bananas, pineapples both fresh and packaged, grapes, strawberries, salads, and other fresh and frozen fruits and juices.

Dole is a vertically integrated producer, owning plantations in Central America.It operates a fleet of 19 container ships that are specially equipped to ship refrigerated containers and have their own cranes instead of relying on port infrastructure.

The California-based company has over 74,300 full-time and seasonal employees and annual revenues of around $4.2 billion.

A successful merger would allow Greenyard would strengthen its key US market and  become a large player in both Europe and US.