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Fyffes deal dead

The merger of banana giants Chiquita and Fyffes is off as the former has agreed to be taken over in a $1.3bn deal by Cutrale-Safra.

The two fruit producers had planned to combine to cut costs in a move that would have led to synergies in its shipping operations.

But Chiquita had been hunted by Cutrale, a juice maker, and investor Safra, repelling three offers while it tried to seal the Fyffes deal.

Instead it said on Monday that the board had unanimously approved the takeover at $14.50 per share, a 34% premium to Chiquita’s closing price in March, when the Fyffes deal was announced.

Chiquita formerly owned the so-called Great White fleet of reefers but it chartered the vessels back when they were sold to NYK and EastWind Maritime.

Chiquita currently operates eight reefers of between 572,000-cbm and 627,000-cbm capacity, which were built in 1991 and 1992, suggesting they may be ripe for replacement. Brokers believe the company will seek further economies of scale by operating larger reefers in the future.

The European Union (EU) had cleared the ChiquitaFyffes merger on the condition that Fyffes ended its exclusive shipping deal with Maersk.

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