Floods damage Chiquita’s banana fields in Honduras | VailDaily.com

Floods damage Chiquita’s banana fields in Honduras

CINCINNATI – Chiquita Brands International Inc. said on Wednesday that flooding in Central America will hurt its banana production and distribution for at least several months, resulting in a fourth-quarter charge of $13 million to $18 million.About 4,000 acres of company banana farms in Honduras and more than 1,200 acres of banana farms owned by independent growers have been hit by heavy rains from Tropical Storm Gamma, Chiquita said. The most heavily damaged areas could be out of production for more than a year, the company said.”The loss of our Honduran production, combined with the ongoing impact of Hurricane Stan on purchased fruit volumes in Guatemala and other weather problems this season, has created product shortages in North America through the first quarter 2006,” said Bob Kistinger, president and chief operating officer of Chiquita Fresh. The company said it is trying to identify alternative sources to meet demands.Chiquita expects a mostly noncash charge in the fourth quarter for asset writedowns and flood-related costs.The Cincinnati-based company is one of the largest banana producers in the world and a major supplier of bananas in Europe and North America. Its Fresh Express division is a leading supplier of packaged salads to grocery retailers, foodservice providers and quick-service restaurants.Shares of Chiquita fell 84 cents, or 3.9 percent, to close at $20.80 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have traded between $19.51 and $31.09 in the past year.—On the Net: http://www.chiquita.comVail, Colorado

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