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Charlotte Area News

What Chiquita Deal Means For Charlotte

Julie Rose

For months, Chiquita’s board has been spurning an offer to merge with financial company Safra and juice maker Cutrale. Monday, Chiquita announced it will take the buyout by the two Brazilian companies.

So what does this mean for Charlotte? 

Let’s start with what we know about the deal. Ed Loyd is spokesman for Chiquita.

"Chiquita has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by the Cutrale group and the Safra group for $14.50 per share in cash."

And that’s very much all we know.

This deal came just 72 hours after Chiquita shareholders voted down a proposal for the company to merge with the Ireland based Fyffes, which means they have yet to work out key details like if Chiquita will still call uptown home and what’s the fate of the company’s Charlotte based workforce. "Over the coming months we’re going to be looking to ensure a smooth transaction," says Loyd, "We’re going to continue to communicate and work with the local officials in Charlotte and as more details become available we will be doing so."

All this has left Councilman David Howard with a lot of questions.

"We need to find out from the new parent company what their intent is for not just the Chiquita brand but also their presence here in the city." He says so far there’s been no communication between Chiquita and the city council. "None at all from my understanding. I don’t think anybody has talked to anybody about what it all means just yet."

Howard says his first priority is protecting the 320 jobs. And, depending on what happens, Howard says the city may look to claw back its share of the more than $1 million in local tax incentives given to Chiquita to move here just three years ago.

For some insights into why this merger appeals to Chiquita and the Cutrale and Safra groups, WFAE’s Mark Rumsey spoke with Kenneth Shea, a Senior Analyst at Bloomberg.