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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Charlotte-based Chiquita Brands International s losses more than doubled in the third quarter, as the company s sales fell and restructuring and impairment charges ate cash.

Chiquita lost $67 million during the quarter, compared with $29 million during the same quarter last year. On a per-share basis, Chiquita lost $1.45 a share. Total sales fell about 1 percent, to $714 million.

Newly-appointed CEO Ed Lonergan said the results were better than expected.

Chiquita s third quarter results exceeded our internal expectations. While it was a challenging quarter, we made progress in positioning the company for future growth by becoming more competitive in our core banana and salads businesses, said Lonergan, in a statement.

Chiquita is undergoing a restructuring designed to save the company more than $60 million a year. The company has already cut more than 300 positions, only about 15 of them at its Charlotte headquarters, as part of that effort.

Chiquita rival Fresh Del Monte reported last week that its third-quarter sales fell about 1 percent, to $788 million. The company s banana business in Europe and the Middle East fell during the quarter, Florida-based Fresh Del Monte said, accounting for much of the loss.

For the quarter, Fresh Del Monte s banana sales dropped 4 percent. Bananas accounted for 46 percent of Fresh Del Monte s total revenue, less than at Chiquita. Thanks to improved efficiency and cost control, Fresh Del Monte still almost doubled its quarterly profit to $23.5 million.

California-based Dole Food Company hasn t reported its quarterly results yet.

Chiquita s stock fell more than 4 percent, to close at $7.14 a share, on a day when the markets were down broadly.

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