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:
“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.
So here we go again, all the local politicians will be showing up at a Port. This is a potentially dangerous thing for the taxpayers even if it supposedly is good news. Meantime, over in the Crescent City the Miss Chiquita celebration continues:
As seemingly everyone in the two state area now knows, Chiquita is vacating the Port of Gulfport in favor of the Port of New Orleans and the Slabbed Nation is clamoring for some sage analysis. As luck would have it, my becoming a bananaman derives from the same event from which the name of this website derives, Hurricane Katrina. Everyone knows that Chiquita imports bananas into the US via Gulfport’s (soon to be New Orleans) Break Bulk cargo facility from Central America. The company backhauls huge paper rolls to Central America that are used to make the banana boxes used for shipping. Here is what my neighborhood looked like after the storm when the rocket scientists at the Port made the call to leave everything in place before the storm:
Most of the rolls clustered at Broad Street and Highway 90 but a few even made it to my neighborhood proper:
First up is Russell who brings tidings of a Chiquita merger with Fyffes. He knew this would be of interest as I am a made Banana man. (The backstory is too long to tell in a quick post)
Next up is New York Times v Sullivan, the landmark US defamation case, which was again in the news recently. As you lawyerly types well know libel must have a falsity component here in the US and with regards to public figures, that falsity component is further restricted to reckless disregard for the truth. Here is the applicable definition and case cite:
disregard of the truth or falsity of a defamatory statement by a person who is highly aware of its probable falsity or entertains serious doubts about its truth or when there are obvious reasons to doubt the veracity and accuracy of a source [the knowingly false statement and the false statement made with reckless disregard of the truth , do not enjoy constitutional protection “Garrison v. Louisiana , 379 U.S. 64 (1964)”
I ask this because some forums, such as those that operate in the English common law tradition, do not have falsity as a legal element in defamation. I can see scenarios where there would be implications for foreign media outlets that rely upon such forums in their reporting under US law. We shall see.
I personally took this as a bad sign because I think Allee “got it” after Katrina. And what did he get? Mainly that monster Hurricanes hit the northern Gulf Coast, specifically the Mississippi Gulf Coast on roughly 40 year cycles or just long enough for what I’ll term institutional memory of the previous monster storm to fade. Anita Lee over at the Sun Herald covered this part of the Hazard Mitigation equation way back in July, 2009. A quick quote from that old story before we get to more current links on the mismanagement over at the State Port at Gulfport (website badly out of date):
As a result, Katrina hurtled containers, trailers and paper rolls into the neighborhoods of West Gulfport and East Long Beach. They heightened the terror of residents who remained in their homes, equally unprepared for the storm’s savagery. Essentially, containers that weigh 3 1/2 tons empty to more than 26 tons loaded, along with 5,400-pound paper rolls, pounded like battering rams against structures already compromised by wind and water. Continue reading “Ship for Brains Part Trois: Mayberry on 14th Street???”