Dole Food, the world's largest producer of fresh fruit and vegetables, has filed plans for an initial public offering of stock.
The California company was taken private in 2003 by chairman David Murdock, the billionaire behind the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, N.C. Murdock built the campus at the former Pillowtex mill complex, which closed in 2003.
The campus is attracting academic partners such as Duke University and N.C. State, corporate partners such as Red Hat and PepsiCo and others interested in using its facilities for research.
In 2007, Dole opened a $54 million salad-packaging plant in Bessemer City, west of Charlotte. That was its first facility in the state, although Murdock also had discussed a frozen-fruit plant in the state.
Dole Food expects to raise as much as $500 million in the IPO, and use the money to repay debt. The company was founded in Hawaii in 1851. If the IPO is successful, the stock would trade under the ticker symbol "DOLE."