Chiquita Brands International Inc. sales inched up 2.2 percent for the third quarter, but the Charlotte banana company still reported a loss of $ 18 million, or 38 cents per share.
The loss equalled that of the third quarter in 2013 for Chiquita (NYSE:CQB). Sales increased to $ 739 million for the latest quarter, rising from $ 723 million a year earlier. That increase was propelled by a 4 percent rise in banana sales to $ 477 million, up from $ 458 million for the third quarter of 2013.
Ed Lonergan, Chiquita CEO, calls the results the “strongest in the last five years for this period.”
“The momentum generated by Chiquita’s ‘return to the core’ strategy resulted in higher sales in our banana segment, and improved pricing in both bananas and salads and healthy snacks,” he says.
The fact that analysts had expected a loss of only 9 cents per share didn’t seem to affect the price of Chiquita shares. Shares traded up a penny from Wednesday’s closing price to $ 14.44 as the stock market opened, then settled at $ 14.43 at midmorning.
Today’s earnings report will likely be the next-to-last quarterly disclosure for Chiquita before Cutrale Group and Safra Group take the company private.
Lonergan adds that he was proud of Chiquita employees as they stayed on task as the company agreed late last month to be sold to Cutrale-Safra. The $ 1.3 billion deal was sealed after Chiquita shareholders nixed a plan for the company to buy Irish fruit supplier Fyffes plc.
Lonergan says Chiquita and Cutrale-Safra plan to complete their deal as soon as the end of the year.
Publication date: 11/7/2014