Business

Banana firm Chiquita agrees deal with Cutrale and Safra

Chiquita bananas Image copyright AP

Brazil's Cutrale and Safra groups have agreed a deal to buy banana giant Chiquita, just days after shareholders rejected a deal with rival Fyffes.

Fruit juice firm Cutrale and bank Safra offered $14.50 a share last week, in the hope of derailing the Fyffes deal. They had previously offered $14.00.

The deal values the US banana company at about $680m.

All parties said they hoped the deal would be completed by the end of the year or early in 2015.

"We are pleased to make this long-term investment in Chiquita, one of the leading fresh produce companies in the world," a joint statement from the Brazilian companies said.

The deal represents a 34% premium on the Chiquita share price in March, when a deal with Fyffes was first agreed.

"This transaction demonstrates our board's commitment to maximising shareholder value and underscores the significant progress Chiquita has achieved over the past couple of years in our financial and operational performance," said Ed Lonergan, the US firm's chief executive.

Chiquita shareholders voted against the tie-up with Fyffes, which would have created the world's largest banana company, on Friday.

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