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Merger Means Charlotte Will Share Chiquita With Dublin

Julie Rose

Chiquita's merger with an Irish produce company will have a minimal impact on the number of jobs the banana giant keeps in Charlotte. The company currently employs about 300 people at its headquarters in uptown.

Chiquita is merging with a company called Fyffes to create the world's largest banana supplier. Fyffes is based in Dublin, and that's technically where the combined company will be headquartered.

David Holohan is head of research at Merrion Stockbrokers in Ireland.

"The decision to have the headquarters in Dublin is really just aligned to facilitate the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer, which will come from Fyffes, and they're currently based in Dublin at the moment," he said.

Holohan said it also doesn't hurt that Ireland charges about a third of what the U.S. does in corporate income taxes.

But a Chiquita spokesman said the company will still have a major footprint in Charlotte. For one, some executives will still be here, like current CEO Ed Lonergan, who'll become chairman.

Also, the company is still on track to employ about 400 people in Charlotte. It'll need to do that in order to cash in the big incentives deal the state and city promised when Chiquita moved here in 2012.

The Chiquita spokesman and Charlotte's mayor say the merger doesn't appear to impact those incentives, which could add up to more than $20 million.