(UPDATED COVERAGE, April 5) Chiquita Brands International and its joint venture partner Danone have agreed to sell the Chiquita smoothies division — Danone Chiquita Fruits — to the German company Gebrüder Bagusat for an undisclosed amount.
The German company has been responsible for the production work for the joint venture and will continue sales of the smoothie products under the Chiquita brand through a license agreement, said Chiquita spokeswoman Tiffany Breaux.
Danone had a 51% share in the smoothies division, which it acquired in 2010.
Both Chiquita, Charlotte, N.C., and Paris-based Danone want to “mobilize their human and financial resources on their core businesses,” Breaux said. “For Chiquita, this decision is line with our strategy to focus on the support of our core businesses and in the development of its priority markets.”
During a March 11 conference call with investors regarding Chiquita’s fourth-quarter and year-end results for 2012, Chiquita president and chief executive officer Ed Lonergan said the company intends to refocus on its core business of bananas and packaged salads.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company posted a $254 operating loss for 2012 after logging $34 million in income for 2011. In the fourth quarter of 2012 Chiquita had operating losses of $205 million, up from a $12 million loss in the last quarter of 2011.