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Charlotte Area

Mass Layoffs At Chiquita Headquarters To Begin In April

Duncan McFadyen

Chiquita has notified state officials the company will close its Charlotte headquarters slightly earlier than expected, with layoffs to begin in two months.

After a Brazilian conglomerate bought the company in a hostile takeover late last year, Chiquita told its Charlotte employees last month it would close its Uptown headquarters. The company gave a timeline of 12 to 18 months for the closure.

But, in a required notice of mass layoffs to the state Commerce Department, Chiquita CEO Brian Kocher now says the company will  begin shedding jobs in mid-April, with everyone out and the headquarters closed by the end of the year. In all, Chiquita expects to lay off 262 employees.

The company had previously said it employed about 320 workers in Charlotte. It’s not clear if the remaining 60 will be transferred or if they’ve already been dismissed. The company’s spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It will cost Chiquita between $25 million and $40 million to move out of Charlotte, including costs of severance, ending its lease, relocating, and paying back local and state tax breaks, according to a company filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month.