Fyffes and Chiquita set to secure EU approval for tie-up

The merged company will have a 14 per cent share of the $7 billion global banana market

Chiquita and Fyffes, which compete with Fresh Del Monte and Hawaii-founded Dole Food Company, offered concessions to the Commission last week. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Chiquita and Fyffes, which compete with Fresh Del Monte and Hawaii-founded Dole Food Company, offered concessions to the Commission last week. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

 

Fyffes and US fruit producer Chiquita are set to secure conditional EU approval for their $526 million tie-up to create the world’s largest banana producer, Reuters new agency, citing two sources, reported today.

The merged company will have a 14 per cent share of the $7 billion global banana market, giving it significant clout in negotiating with retailers.

Chiquita and Fyffes, which compete with Fresh Del Monte and Hawaii-founded Dole Food Company, offered concessions to the Commission last week to allay competition concerns, but did not provide details.

Industry experts say these may include an offer to sell overlapping businesses or import licences and making it easier for local ripeners to do deals with the company. “It’s expected to be phase 1 clearance,” said one source, referring to the European Commission’s preliminary review.

Chiquita is also talking to Brazilian juice maker Grupo Cutrale and Safra Group, the banking and investment group, on their joint $611 million unsolicited bid. It postponed a shareholder vote on the Fyffes deal to October 3rd from September 17th.

Commission spokesman Antoine Colombani declined to comment. The European Union competition watchdog is also scheduled to decide on the deal by October 3rd. Fyffes was not immediately available to comment while Chiquita did not immediately reply to an email for comment.

Cutrale, which wants to expand into new markets and products to offset declining orange juice consumption worldwide, and Safra were not immediately available for comment.

Last week, they said their offer would not have attracted regulatory attention unlike the Fyffes tie-up.

Reuters