Chiquita expected to save U.S. tax money with its merger

Chiquita Brands International, Inc. and Fyffes plc have announced a merger. Both firms are involved in agriculture for exporting from Costa Rica.

The combined value of the two companies is more than $1 billion, Chiquita said in a news release. It also predicted significant savings. The new company name will be ChiquitaFyffes plc although Chiquita will have a majority interest.

Analysts note that Fyffes is located in Ireland, and they said they expect Chiquita to transfer more of its activities there to stay out of the reach of U.S. tax collectors. The announcement said that the new firm would be domiciled in Ireland. The new firm will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

Chiquita used to be the United Fruit Co., and U.S. businessman Minor Keith was involved in the amalgamation that created the firm. That was at the end of the 19th century. In 1870 the firm’s predecessor was the first to export bananas to the United States.

The fruits came from Costa Rica.

Chiquita has a global presence with operations in 70 countries, a sizable presence in the U.S. market and widely recognized brands including Chiquita Bananas and Fresh Express, the announcement said. Fyffes is a leading international marketer and distributor of top quality tropical produce, marketed under a variety of well-known brands including Fyffes and Sol, it added. It is known for its pineapples.

The two firms have a total of  24,000 hectares in Central America. That is nearly 60,000 acres.

Chiquita shareholders will own 50.7 percent of the new entity.

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