Chiquita Hires SVP Craig Stephen and Posts Strong Financial Numbers as Cutrale/Safra Group Ups Offer
- by Kyle Braver
CHARLOTTE, NC - News out of Chiquita keeps rolling in, with the appointment of former Vice President & General Manager for Chiquita Brands North America Craig Stephen as Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Fresh Express. In his new position, Craig will be responsible for overseeing Fresh Express' sales, marketing and customer service operations, as the company continues to provide expanded category offerings in retail value-added and private label salads.
“Craig is highly regarded and respected by all stakeholders across the fresh produce industry,” said Brian W. Kocher, Chiquita’s Chief Operating Officer. “We are confident that his extensive operational experience, coupled with his leadership and industry insights will help us consistently deliver superior customer service as we continue to profitably grow our Fresh Express business.”
Paired together with the release of Chiquita's preliminary Q3 earnings numbers, this news certainly paints the picture of a strong company ready to continue growing. According to a press release, net sales for this most recent quarter were approximately $739 million and Chiquita stated it expects operating income on a U.S. GAAP basis to be between $0-$2 million, compared to U.S. GAAP operating income of $1 million during Q3 in 2013. These numbers beat analyst expectations, who only expected $731 million in net sales, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Perhaps spurred on by these strong showings from Chiquita, the Cutrale/Safra Group which has been the main competition to Chiquita's proposed merger agreement with Fyffes, upped its buyout offer to $14/share for all of the company's outstanding stock. As AndNowUKnow covered in a previous story, the Cutrale/Safra group had previously offered Chiquita $13/share, or roughly $610 million, a move which Chiquita rejected in favor of the Fyffes merger. This new bid amount would bring the total value of the proposed takeover offer to $658 million. Chiquita has not yet released an official reaction to Cutrale/Safra's new offer, although the company did officially acknowledge receiving the offer.
When Chiquita does come to a decision about this matter, you can count on AndNowUKnow to bring you the news first. Until then, we would like to congratulate Craig on his new position with Chiquita!