NEW YORK -- Chiquita Brands International (IW 500/275), the U.S. fresh food giant, and Ireland's Fyffes said today they will merge to create the world's biggest banana company.
The transaction will create a combined company called ChiquitaFyffes, valued at $1.07 billion (770 million euro) and with annual revenue of $4.6 billion, the companies said in a joint statement.
The all-stock deal values the Irish company at $526 million (379 million euros).
The combined company will become the leading global banana and other fresh produce company, with sales of more than 160 million boxes of bananas a year, they said.
The merged company will maintain the brands of each company.
Generations of Americans know Chiquita brand bananas, brought to life in 1944 by the glamorous Miss Chiquita animated banana and portrayed live by models and personalities.
Fyffes has extended its ground-breaking oval Blue Label banana brand to Blue Label Pineapples and winter season melons.
The combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and based in Ireland.
Chiquita, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, posted a loss of $16 million for 2013, a sharp improvement after losing $405 million in 2012.
On Monday, Fyffes announced preliminary results for 2013 showing a profit of 26.1 million euros ($34.87 million), up almost 10% from the prior year.
Chiquita shares jumped 12.1% to $12.15 in late-morning trade in New York. Fyffes soared 42% to 106.50 pence in London.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2014