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Chiquita Losses Continue To Climb

Chiquita bananas

Chiquita Brands International Inc. multiplied its losses to $335 million, or $7.24 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter of 2012 when compared with the same quarter in the previous year, the Charlotte Business Journal reports.

The company had reported a loss of $16 million, or 36 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2011.

The huge quarterly loss for the latest quarter included impairment charges related to lower salad sales and the cost of relocating the company’s headquarters to Charlotte from Cincinnati.

Ed Lonergan, Chiquita’s CEO, acknowledged the numbers are disappointing.

“Both the fourth quarter and the full year reflect the challenges the company faced throughout the year and present difficult comparisons to prior periods due to the impact of euro exchange rates and lower retail salad results,” he said.

But there are signs of improvement for the company, he added. One good indicator is a higher price for bananas in Europe.

For the full year, Chiquita lost $408 million, or $8.85 per share, swinging from net income of $57 million, or $1.23 per share, for fiscal 2011.

Chiquita’s planned earnings release had little effect on its share price during the day Monday. The stock closed at $6.75, up 1 cent from the previous day’s close. The earnings were released after the closing bell for the stock market rang.

Chiquita announced in 2011 that it would move its headquarters to Charlotte, N.C.

It completed its move to Charlotte in August and quickly dumped CEO Fernando Aguirre two months later. He stays with the company as an adviser and plans to live in Charlotte for the long term.

Lonergan brought news that the company would return to its core products, bananas and salads.

Chiquita is set to hold its first local annual meeting for shareholders on May 23 at its offices in the NASCAR Plaza tower uptown.


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