USA: Chiquita announces definitive merger agreement with Cutrale-Safra

USA: Chiquita announces definitive merger agreement with Cutrale-Safra

The uncertainty over the future of the Chiquita business appears one step closer to being resolved as the company announced that it had signed a definitive merger agreement with Cutrale Group and Safra Group.

In August, Chiquita announced that it had received an unsolicited offer from the two Brazilian companies – the former one of the world's largest orange-juice suppliers and the latter an investment firm – having previously agreed a merger with Irish banana company Fyffes in March.

In a statement, Chiquita said the Cutrale-Safra deal would provide the company extensive experience in all aspects of the fruit and juice value chain.

Under the merger agreement, Cutrale-Safra will acquire all outstanding common shares of Chiquita for $14.50 per share in cash, the companies said, in a transaction valued at approximately $1.3 billion.

"This transaction demonstrates our Board’s commitment to maximizing 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, Chiquita’s Chief Executive Officer. "We are pleased with the substantial value and significant all-cash premium we have delivered through this exciting agreement with the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group. Through the due diligence process, we developed a tremendous amount of respect for the entire Cutrale-Safra team, especially their knowledge and understanding of global agribusiness, shipping and manufacturing. Chiquita and Fresh Express are some of the most recognizable brands in the sector, and we are confident that Cutrale-Safra will be good stewards of the business moving forward".

Source: Chiquita / media reports