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Business Observer Wednesday, Apr. 21, 2021 1 year ago

State spends $14 million on land purchase from area citrus company

Alico has sold 22,000 acres to the state in the past three years.

FORT MYERS – Alico, one of the largest citrus producers in the country, announced Tuesday that the state of Florida purchased roughly 5,734 acres of Alico Ranch for $14.4 million. 

The purchase was in accordance with an option agreement the two parties entered earlier in the fiscal year through the Florida Forever program, according to a statement. 

This is the third sales transaction to take place between the citrus producer and state over the last three years. An additional 5,500 acres was sold to Florida under the Florida Forever program for permanent protection. Alico also sold 10,702 acres to the state under the land-protection program. 

“We are pleased that the State of Florida has continued to purchase parcels within the Alico Ranch,” John Kiernan, Alico’s president and CEO says in a statement. 

The release noted that Alico is planning to use the sale proceeds to prepay a portion of its fixed-rate term debt. 

“We believe that if we are successful with our continued efforts to divest additional acreage of Alico Ranch, we will be able to redeploy these sales proceeds into building shareholder value, possibly through continuing to increase quarterly common dividends, a like-kind exchange structure to defer a portion of capital gains taxes, retiring additional debt, continuing to increase quarterly common dividends or even considering special dividends,” Kiernan says. 

Fort Myers-based Alico primarily operates two divisions: Alico Citrus, one of the nation’s largest citrus producers, and Alico Land Management and Other Operations, which include environmental services, land leasing and related support operations. The company posted $122.35 million in revenue in 2019.


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