Chiquita sells European distributor to Univeg

08/19/2008 12:00:00 AM
David Mitchell

(Aug. 19, 5:15 p.m.) Chiquita has completed its sale of Atlanta AG to Univeg Group for $92 million.

Cincinnati-based Chiquita Brands International Inc. said in an Aug. 19 news release that net proceeds from the sale of the Bremen, Germany-based distributor will be used to reduce debt. Chiquita said July 31 in its quarterly earnings report that it had $874 million in debt.

Chiquita said in its news release that Atlanta AG will continue to serve as the company’s preferred supplier of banana ripening and distribution services in Germany, Austria and Denmark. Atlanta AG has 17 ripening and distribution centers for bananas and other produce in Germany and Austria.

St. Katelijine-Waver, Belgium-based Univeg Group agreed in May to buy Atlanta AG, but the deal was subject to European regulatory approval. Atlanta AG had $1.2 billion in revenues from non-Chiquita products in 2007.

Chiquita acquired Atlanta AG, its former customer, in 2003 when Chiquita converted Atlanta’s debt to Chiquita into equity in the German company. The deal was valued at $50 million at the time.

Chiquita’s stock was at $14.64 during midday trading Aug. 19 on the New York Stock Exchange.



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