Chiquita narrows loss in quarter
October 31, 2008
by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
CINCINNATI — In the third quarter, Chiquita Brands International, Inc. was able to reduce its debt through the sale of Atlanta AG.
For the quarter ended Sept. 30, Chiquita sustained a loss of $5.6 million, which compared with a loss of $28.2 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales were $840 million, up 7% from $785.2 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
"Our operating results improved over last year," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our pricing discipline and focus on profitability has improved the year-on-year performance of our banana segment for the fifth consecutive quarter, which more than offset lower results in our salad operations. We are making progress on all the elements of our profit improvement plans for salads, including permanent contract pricing and fuel-related surcharges, to deliver better margins over time. Looking ahead, we continue to expect to achieve significantly better operating results for the full year versus 2007."
The bananas segment had an operating income of $21.6 million, up significantly from $4.2 million during the same quarter of 2007. Sales for the segment were $473.5 million, up 13% from $417.5 million during the same quarter of the previous year.
The salads and other healthy snacks segment had an operating loss of $8.4 million during the quarter compared with an operating income of $6.7 million during the same quarter of the previous year. Sales for the segment were $324.7 million, up 2% from $319.2 million during the same quarter of 2007.
"We used most of the proceeds from the sale of Atlanta AG to reduce debt," Mr. Aguirre said. "We repurchased senior notes at prices that reflect an attractive long-term value for shareholders. Our improved operating performance, strong capital structure and liquidity enable us to remain focused on executing our profitable growth strategy despite turmoil in global financial markets."
For the nine months Chiquita had an income of $88.2 million compared with a loss of $23 million during the same period of the previous year. Sales were $2,770.1 million during the nine months, up 6% from $2,624.4 million during the same period of the previous year.