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CINCINNATI (AP) _ Chiquita Brands International Inc. reported Monday a fourth quarter loss of $74 million attributed partly to $47 million in reorganization costs and other charges related to the closure of farms and labor problems at its banana division in Panama.

The banana exporter filed Nov. 28 for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under an earlier agreement to reduce the company's debt by about $700 million. The company's reorganization plan is scheduled for a confirmation hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cincinnati on March 8.

Chiquita's loss of $74 million, or 98 cents per share, for the quarter ending Dec. 31, compares with a loss of $89 million, or $1.40 per share, in the same period in 2000. Chiquita reported a loss of $119 million, or $1.78 per share, for all of 2001. The company reported a loss of $95 million, or $1.68 per share, for 2000.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2001 increased to $561 million, compared with $529 million in 2000. The company reported sales for all of 2001 at $2.2 billion, compared with $2.3 billion in 2000.

Results for Chiquita's fresh produce division in 2001 improved because of higher European banana pricing and volume that offset weak European currencies in relation to the dollar, the company said. Operating results for the company's processed foods declined, however, primarily because of lower pricing on canned vegetables as the industry reduced inventory levels, Chiquita said.

Chiquita's stock fell 3 cents to 78 cents in trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Cincinnati-based company is an international marketer, producer and distributor of fruits and vegetables and processed food.

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On the Net:

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