Chiquita Reports $398 Million Loss
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CINCINNATI (AP) _ Chiquita Brands International Inc. posted a loss on Wednesday of $397.8 million for the first quarter, due largely to restructuring charges the banana exporter incurred as it emerged from bankruptcy protection.
The loss of $5.08 per share compared with a profit of $4.1 million, or 1 cent per share, for the first quarter of 2001.
The company said sales for the three months ended March 31 increased 9 percent to $629.5 million from $577.3 million.
Chiquita, which emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on March 19, said its loss included $285.8 million in expenses for the company’s financial restructuring and a $144.5 million charge for adopting a new accounting standard.
Before the one-time charges, net income was $32.5 million, compared with $5.2 million a year earlier. Most of that increase came from the elimination of interest payments on debt, the company said.
Chiquita’s shares fell more than 7 percent, or $1.30, closing at $16.50 on the New York Stock Exchange. During the past year, Chiquita’s stock has ranged between $13.87 and $18.85.
The reorganization plan, approved by a federal bankruptcy judge, reconfigured Chiquita as a new company 95 percent owned by creditors, in exchange for creditors forgiving $700 million of Chiquita’s debt.
Chiquita products include fresh fruits and vegetables and processed foods.
The reorganization plan was designed to give Chiquita a fresh start, following years of multimillion-dollar losses the company blamed on European import quotas and slumping prices for bananas caused by a worldwide glut.
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