September 16, 2008
Chiquita Provides Interim Price & Volume Data for July-August 2008
CINCINNATI, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chiquita Brands International, Inc. today reported significant year-over-year increases in banana prices in all markets for July-August 2008 on volumes that were flat overall. In its Fresh Express value-added salads business, the company reported a year-over-year improvement in both net revenue per case and volume during the two-month period.
"We are pleased that banana pricing remains favorable as we continue our pricing discipline to help offset higher industry costs," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "Volume remains roughly flat overall, reflecting continuing industry-wide supply constraints across much of Latin America, which has substantially raised the cost of sourcing high-quality fruit."
Banana Segment Year-over-Year Percentage Change (1) July-August 2008 vs. July-August 2007 % of Total Pricing Volume(2) Volume Sold North America +33 % +2 % 45 % Core European Markets (3) U.S. dollar basis (4) +18 % (5%) 33 % Local currency basis +4 % Asia Pacific and the Middle East (5) +12 % +17 % 18 % Trading Markets (6) +41 % (15%) 4 % 1 These statistics may not be indicative of future results. 2 Total volume sold includes all banana varieties, such as Chiquita to Go, Chiquita minis, organic bananas and plantains. 3 The company's "core" European markets include the 27 member states of the European Union, Switzerland, Norway and Iceland. 4 Prices on a U.S. dollar basis do not include the impact of hedging. 5 The company primarily operates through joint ventures in this region. 6 The company's trading markets are mainly European and Mediterranean countries that do not belong to the European Union.North American banana pricing was up 33 percent, including surcharges. Banana volume sold in the region increased 2 percent. Volume growth was limited due to substantially constrained industry-wide volume, which has significantly increased the cost of sourcing high quality fruit.
Banana prices in the company's core European markets were up 4 percent year-on-year on a local currency basis, or 18 percent on a U.S. dollar basis. Volume sold in the core European markets was down 5 percent year-over-year for the period, due to the constrained industry-wide volume availability, the company's cancellation of some lower-price contracts that were no longer sufficiently profitable in a rising cost environment, and the company's continuing strategy to focus on its premium quality product and price differentiation rather than market share.
In Asia Pacific and the Middle East, pricing rose 12 percent year-over-year on a U.S. dollar basis, while volume sold in these regions increased 17 percent due to improvements in weather conditions and farm productivity in the Philippines.
In the company's trading markets, which consist primarily of European and Mediterranean countries that do not belong to the European Union, pricing rose 41 percent year-over-year. The company's volume in this region declined 15 percent, reflecting industry-wide supply shortages.
Salads and Healthy Snacks Segment Year-over-Year Percentage Change (1) July-August 2008 vs. July-August 2007 RETAIL VALUE-ADDED SALADS Net Revenue Per Case (2) Volume North America +5 % +1 % 1 These statistics may not be indicative of future results. 2 Net revenue per case includes fuel-related surcharges.
In retail value-added salads, net revenue per case increased 5 percent year-over-year, while volume growth was 1 percent during the period.
About Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
With annual revenues of approximately $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/.
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; 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 of Chiquita Brands International, Inc.,+1-513-784-8935, [email protected]
Web site: http://www.chiquita.com/