I imagine the good folks over in New Orleans at the port are still cuttin’ backflips over nabbing Chiquita’s port operations from the Port of Gulfport. Not that I’d want to wet blanket things but since I am a made banaman from way far back it only took me a few seconds with Google to nab the salient links:
Chiquita to buy Fresh Express for $855M ~ Cincinnati Business Courier 2-23-2005
The day before the deal was announced, February 22, 2005, Chiquita common closed at $22.00 and had a market capitalization of $1.035 billion dollars. The following is from the Chiquita press release on the Fresh Express acquisition:
“I believe this is the most important strategic and transformational move the company has made in decades,” said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer of Chiquita Brands International. “Fresh Express fits seamlessly into our sustainable growth strategy to become a world-class, consumer-driven leader of branded produce by building a high-performance organization, strengthening our core business and, most importantly, pursuing profitable growth.
Aguirre continued, “In addition to diversifying earnings, this transaction should accelerate our path to profitable growth, creating a unique opportunity to cross-sell our existing products, leveraging the excellent retail customer relationships of both companies and the foodservice expertise of Fresh Express. By acquiring an established national infrastructure and state-of- the-art technology, we gain immediate scale and an effective platform to launch new products throughout North America, including the ability to accelerate national distribution of fresh-cut fruit.” The company expects to promptly convert all fruit-based products to the Chiquita brand and retain the Fresh Express brand for value-added salads.
“Importantly, this acquisition meets our financial criteria, including average EBITDA margins that exceed 10 percent and a solid record of revenue growth, profitability and strong cash flows. There’s also a great opportunity to realize cost synergies of at least $20 million annually,” said Jay Braukman, Chiquita’s senior vice president and chief financial officer.
But time and money have a way of talking:
Chiquita Slips on Salad Bet as Cash Dwindles ~ Bloomberg 8-22-2012
And today, the company which the market valued at over one billion dollars before it acquired Fresh Express in 2005:
Chiquita Brands was up 30% on Monday after the banana giant received a $13 per share joint buyout offer from Cutrale Group and Safra Group.
As of Friday’s close, shares of Chiquita, which has a market cap of about $620 million, were down about 14% year-to-date.
The four hundred million dollar evaporation of market capitalization is one heck of a load of bananas. Mark down CQB as “in play” as the vultures begin to circle.