Chiquita Brands International Inc has announced the sale of its interest in the Midwest wholesale produce distribution business conducted by the Castellini group of companies to the Castellini management group. The consideration to Chiquita is approximately $45 million, which includes debt assumption and $21 million in cash.
“This sale is part of Chiquita's ongoing strategy to focus on its core business and reduce debt,” said Cyrus Freidheim, Chiquita chairman and chief executive officer.
The transaction will reduce Chiquita's consolidated net debt reported Sept 30, 2002, by about $45 million. The company expects the transaction to decrease its annual consolidated net sales and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization by approximately $330 million and $8 million, respectively. Chiquita will recognize a gain on the sale of roughly $10 million.
Based in Cincinnati OH, the Castellini group of companies distributes wholesale fruits and vegetables principally in 16 Midwestern states.