Chiquita Brands 4th-quarter loss narrows as banana revenue jumps

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chiquita Brands quarterly loss narrows

NEW YORK — Chiquita Brands International Inc. on Tuesday posted a narrower fourth-quarter loss as revenue from bananas rose.

The company posted a loss of $27 million, or 60 cents per share, versus a loss of $413 million, or $9.32 per share, a year ago. The year-ago period included a non-cash impairment charge of $375 million related to its Fresh Express business.

On an adjusted basis, the company’s loss in the latest quarter was 52 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $879 million. Banana sales rose 15 percent to $568 million, partly due to higher average European currency exchange rates. Sales of salads and snacks fell 12 percent to $260 million.

On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters forecast a quarterly loss of 28 cents per share and revenue of $794.4 million.

In 2009, the company earned $90 million, or $2 per share, versus a loss of $329 million, or $7.51 per share, in 2008. Revenue fell 3.9 percent to $3.47 billion, partly due to an exit from certain unprofitable foodservice contracts.

Shares rose 13 cents to $14.78 in after-hours trading. During the regular session, shares dropped 63 cents, or 4.1 percent, to close at $14.65.

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