Fyffes backs own bid over rivals’

Fyffes has responded to an increased rival bid for US banana producer Chiquita by saying its merger proposals remain the superior offer for shareholders.

“The agreed merger between Chiquita and Fyffes remains superior to [the] unsolicited takeover offer from Cutrale-Safra,” said Fyffes chairman David McCann. He was reacting to the Brazilian bidder increasing its bid for Chiquita from $13 (€10.15) per share to $14 per share, valuing a deal at around $660m.

“As Chiquita illustrated in its most recent filing, on October 14, the implied present value of the Chiquita-Fyffes deal is in a range of $15.46-$20.01 per share. The combination provides for substantial upside, for all shareholders, who will benefit from the combined company’s equity growth prospects and $60m in annualised synergies, already identified and achievable by 2016,” said Mr McCann. He added that a deal with the Brazilians would undervalue Chiquita’s potential and “represents only a finite value”.

Chiquita said earlier this week it still preferred the Fyffes option. Cutrale-Safra said its revised bid offers a premium of around 40% to the valuation of the original Fyffes-Chiquita proposal and a 19% premium to the adjusted stock price based upon the revised terms.

Goodbody Stockbrokers’ Patrick Higgins said the revised Cutrale bid for Chiquita doesn’t spell the end for hopes of a Fyffes-Chiquita merger.


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