Dole Food Co. has sold its packaged foods and Asia fresh produce business to a Japanese company in a deal priced at $1.7 billion in cash.

The Westlake Village-based food fruit and vegetable grower will use the proceeds of the sale to ITOCHU Corporation to pay down debt, pay deal-related expenses, and for restructuring and other corporate purposes.

The agreement gives ITOCHU rights to use the Dole trademark on packaged foods worldwide and on fresh produce in Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

The sale of the two business units accomplishes a goal of enhancing shareholder value, said Dole President and CEO David A. DeLorenzo.

“We are realizing a premium valuation for our worldwide packaged foods and Asia fresh produce businesses and will retain a strong fresh produce business that has increased financial flexibility to grow,” DeLorenzo said in a prepared statement.

The packaged food division includes the production of canned fruits and fruit juices, snack foods and frozen fruits. Dole Asia Fresh Produce grows, sources, ships and distributes consistently high-quality fresh fruit and vegetables principally in Asia.

For second quarter ending June 16, the packaged food division brought in $291 million in revenue. That is a 7 percent increase from the revenue of $272.3 million for the same period in the prior year.

ITOCHU Corp., headquartered in Osaka, does business in the food, textile, energy, finance, aerospace and machinery industries.

Mark R. Madler