Friday, August 6, 2004

Chiquita's 2nd quarter sales up 2.3%

Earnings report

The Enquirer

Chiquita Brands International Inc. earned $30.2 million, or 73 cents per share, during the second quarter ended June 30.

Sales increased 2.3 percent to $848.4 million. During the same period last year, Chiquita earned $56.6 million, or $1.41 per share, but those results included $29 million in gains from sales of a unit in Panama and the vegetable canning unit.

"We achieved solid operating performance in the second quarter considering the impact of asset sales, which represented a difference of $33 million in net income year-over-year," said Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement Thursday when the earnings report was released.

Chiquita attributed the sales increase to favorable European currency exchange rates and higher sales of produce other than bananas, mainly the new Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit, and pineapple volume.

In the core banana segment, sales rose $5 million to $459 million, while operating income fell to $37 million from $61 million last year.

Separately, Chiquita authorized a new program to buy back common shares and warrants. It said the purchases will be determined on market conditions over the next 12-18 months.

Chiquita shares closed up 10 cents at $19.85.

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