Chiquita reports $16 million 4Q loss, will move in April

Chiquita reports $16 million 4Q loss, will move in April

Chiquita reports $16 million 4Q loss, will move in April

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by JEREMY MARKOVICH / NewsChannel 36 Staff

WCNC.com

Posted on February 22, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 4 at 4:34 PM

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chiquita's salad days haven't been easy, but they're not over.

The company best known for bananas lost $16 million in the fourth quarter, according to its financial filings. That's a smaller loss than the fourth quarter of 2010, when the company lost $20 million. The company typically takes a loss in the fourth quarter, although that loss has gone down every year since 2008.

In 2011 overall, the company made $57 million, compared to $61 million in 2010.

Chiquita reported an uptick in the sale of bananas and healthy snacks in 2011, but the company's sales of its Fresh Express salads were down.

"Our salads business did not perform as well as expected," said CEO Fernando Aguirre in a statement. "We've taken a number of corrective actions and adapted our structure and strategy to be more successful and profitable."

The filing also revealed that Chiquita will begin moving its headquarters from Cincinnati to Charlotte on April 6 and expects that move to cost $30 million. It expects to recover $24 million of that cost through state and local incentives that lured the company away from Ohio.

Chiquita said it expects to save $4 million per year because of lower rents (the new headquarters will be in the NASCAR Plaza tower, next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame) and travel costs (the company cited Charlotte Douglas International Airport as a major factor in its decision to move).

It also cited "more efficient staffing."  Earlier this month, Chiquita filed notice that it would eliminate 200 employees in Ohio beginning April 6, the day the company is scheduled to begin its move here. The cuts are expected to be made up of both layoffs and employees who don't want to move to Charlotte.

During an announcement last November, Aguirre said Chiquita would hire about 200 employees in Charlotte, and his company has begun the hiring process here.

Chiquita's stock price has gone up steadily since it announced the relocation last November, from $7.64 per share on November 29 to $9.23 per share on Tuesday.

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