Chiquita Brands and Fyffes announced today that the Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved a definitive agreement under which Chiquita will combine with Fyffes in a stock-for-stock transaction that is expected to result in Chiquita shareholders owning approximately 50.7% of ChiquitaFyffes, and Fyffes shareholders owning approximately 49.3% of ChiquitaFyffes, on a fully diluted basis. The agreement creates a global banana and other fresh produce company with approximately $4.6 billion in annual revenues. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the transaction before the end of 2014.
Chiquita is an international marketer and distributor of nutritious and high-quality fresh food products, including bananas, packaged salads and healthy snacks. Chiquita has a global presence with operations in 70 countries, a sizable presence in the U.S. market and widely recognized brands including Chiquita Bananas and Fresh Express. Fyffes is an international marketer and distributor of top quality, healthy tropical produce, marketed under a variety of well-known brands including Fyffes and Sol. It is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with operations in Europe, the U.S., Central America, South America and Asia.
"This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies which, we believe, will create significant value for our shareholders and offer immediate benefits for customers and consumers worldwide," says Ed Lonergan, Chiquita's Chief Executive Officer. "This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history and great reputations that have built upon an unwavering commitment to exceed our customers' expectations.
ChiquitaFyffes will be able to access worldwide market opportunities and capitalize on both the growing fresh food business and health and wellness trends by more effectively utilizing its geographical footprint and expanded distribution channels. The transaction unites two well-respected companies that share a strong brand history and a commitment to advancing sustainability and increasing access to healthy foods, as well as leading food safety standards. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people around the world.
"We will maintain our brands, all of which are valued by both customers and consumers. The combined company will also be able to provide customers with a more diverse product mix and choice. We know Fyffes well and our shared heritage will help to ensure a smooth integration as we work to bring best practices across geographies and business units to achieve substantial operating efficiencies," he adds.
"This deal will be transformative and offer exciting opportunities for the new business. We are looking forward to working with the Chiquita team to build a combined company which is well positioned to succeed in our highly competitive marketplace and which will create significant value for our shareholders," says David McCann, Fyffes Executive Chairman. "Our outstanding employees will benefit from working for a larger, more diverse business which offers opportunities for growth. We believe we will be able to use our joint expertise, complementary assets and geographic coverage to develop a business that can run smoothly and efficiently to better partner with our customers and suppliers."