August 26, 2008
Chiquita Enters Value-Added Produce Market in China
SHANGHAI, China and CINCINNATI, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chiquita Brands International, Inc. today announced it has entered into a joint venture with Haitong Food Group Co., Ltd. for the processing, sale and marketing of value-added fresh produce in China, marking the company's initial entry into an important emerging market.
"Introducing the Chiquita brand to the emerging Chinese value-added produce market is an important strategic step in becoming a global leader in branded, healthy, fresh foods," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer, who participated in the signing ceremony today in Shanghai, China. "Our strategy allows us to capitalize on health and wellness trends globally, and we are excited to bring our healthy food portfolio to this new market. We are very pleased to partner with Haitong, a company known for its high quality products, and are confident that combining our strong brand and marketing capabilities with their local expertise will position us to successfully enter this promising market.""Haitong has been in the export-orientated vegetable processing industry for more than 20 years and has actively sought opportunities to provide more fresh and healthy vegetables to Chinese consumers," said Longhai Chen, chairman of Haitong Food Group. "The opportunity to work with Chiquita enables our two companies to forge a common vision between East and West. Together, we are aligned to fully explore the significant opportunity to provide healthy foods that leverage Haitong's strength in processing and agriculture along with the strong branding and marketing expertise from Chiquita."
Under the agreement, Chiquita will provide limited capital investment and have majority ownership of the joint venture company, Zhejiang Chiquita-Haitong Food Company Limited, which will operate food processing operations in Cixi, China. The company will market and sell value-added produce, such as fresh packaged salads, fresh cut fruits and vegetables and fresh chilled beverages in China.
The joint venture is committed to meeting Chiquita's high social, environmental and food safety standards. Chiquita will support the project with its sound agricultural and food safety practices, as well as logistics, marketing and distribution expertise. Commencement of activities under the joint venture is subject to the receipt of relevant regulatory approvals, which are expected during the fourth quarter. Chiquita was advised throughout the transaction by Shiyao Investments Ltd.
ABOUT CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
With annual revenues of $4 billion, Chiquita Brands International, Inc. is a leading international marketer and distributor of high-quality fresh and value-added food products -- from energy-rich bananas and other fruits to nutritious blends of convenient green salads. The company's products and services are designed to win the hearts and smiles of the world's consumers by helping them enjoy healthy fresh foods. The company markets its products under the Chiquita(R) and Fresh Express(R) premium brands and other related trademarks. Chiquita employs approximately 23,000 people operating in more than 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit our web site at http://www.chiquita.com/ .
HAITONG FOOD GROUP COMPANY, LIMITED
Haitong Food Groups Company is a processor and manufacturer of high value-added fruit and vegetable products, dedicating itself to providing healthy, tasty, convenient and nutritious fruits and vegetables options to customers. With high-quality farms and leading technology in food safety and processing, Haitong offers a variety of products, including prepared, frozen, air dried, freeze dried and condensed fruit and vegetable products. The products are mainly sold to Japan, the United States, Australia, the European Union, Middle-East and China markets.
This press release contains certain statements that are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of Chiquita, including: the customary risks experienced by global food companies, such as food safety, prices for commodity and other inputs, currency exchange rate fluctuations, government regulations, industry and competitive conditions, labor relations, taxes, crop risks, political instability and terrorism; changes in the competitive environment following the 2006 conversion to a tariff-only banana import regime in the European Union; unusual weather conditions; access to and cost of financing; the company's ability to achieve the cost savings and other benefits anticipated from the 2007 restructuring; product recalls and other events affecting the industry and consumer confidence in company products; the company's ability to consummate the pending sale of Atlanta AG; and the outcome of pending claims and governmental investigations involving the company, and the legal fees and other costs incurred in connection with them.
Any forward-looking statements made in this press release speak as of the date made and are not guarantees of future performance. Actual results or developments may differ materially from the expectations expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements, and the company undertakes no obligation to update any such statements. Additional information on factors that could influence Chiquita's financial results is included in its SEC filings, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
CONTACT: Ed Loyd, for Chiquita Brands International, Inc.,+1-513-784-8935, [email protected]
Web site: http://www.chiquita.com/