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Monday, 12 November, 2001, 22:25 GMT
Chiquita handed over to creditors
Colombian bananas
The deal does not affect Chiquita's subsidiaries
The creditors of the banana and fresh fruit distributor Chiquita Brands International have taken over the control of the company.

A deal has been struck with the creditors which involves them taking over almost 88% of the 131-year-old US company's shares.

Chiquita has been hit by losses of more than $1.5bn (1bn)over the last eight years during a prolonged so-called "banana war" with the European Union over imports from former European colonies.

The end result for the company was a filing for bankruptcy protection under US law in order to restructure for a better future.

"This restructuring and the recent settlement of the US-EU banana trade dispute are both significant events that will reinforce Chiquita's prospects for strong revenue and earnings growth," said president and chief executive Steven Warshaw.

The convertion of about half its debts into shares for creditors will more or less wipe out the existing shareholders' stake in the company.

Chiquita's shares have fallen about 50% this year.

The deal will not sort out the financial problems suffered by Chiquita's subsidiaries, including the banana exporter, which have debts of $413m.

See also:

25 Oct 01 | Business
Chiquita fights for its life
29 Aug 01 | Business
Banana strikers return to work
02 Jul 01 | Business
US lifts sanctions on EU goods
30 Apr 01 | Business
Banana war is over
11 Apr 01 | Business
EU and US end banana war
17 Apr 01 | Americas
Ecuador criticises US-EU banana deal
07 Mar 01 | Business
EU-US banana war spirals
25 Jan 01 | Business
Banana firm sues European Union
20 Dec 00 | Business
EU moves to end banana war
06 Dec 00 | Business
Banana fraud forces plant closures
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