Cutrale-Safra ups Chiquita offer ahead of Fyffes tie-up vote
By Anjali Athavaley
SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian juice maker Grupo Cutrale and investment firm Safra Group on Thursday raised their offer for Chiquita Brands International Inc CQB.N, a day before the U.S. banana producer's shareholders vote on a merger with Irish rival Fyffes Plc FFY.I.
Cutrale-Safra raised the all-cash offer to $14.50 per share from $14 on Oct. 15, valuing Chiquita at about $682 million, or 12.5 times annual earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization. The offer represents a premium of 14 percent to Chiquita's closing price on Wednesday.
Shares of Chiquita posted their largest intraday jump since Aug. 11, rising as much as 8.87 percent in New York to trade at $13.87. Fyffes shares rose 0.5 percent to 1.02 euros in Dublin.
Fyffes and Chiquita recently said the implied present value of their deal ranges from $15.46 to $20.01 a share.
Cutrale-Safra said in a statement that the offer was valid until Oct. 26. It added that there could be no assurance that the proposal would be extended or a new one would be made, even if Chiquita's shareholders' meeting on Friday is "adjourned, postponed, suspended, placed into recess, canceled or delayed."
Chiquita will carefully review and consider the revised Cutrale-Safra offer, it said in a statement.
A successful bid would expand billionaires Joseph Safra and José Luis Cutrale's share of the world tropical fruit market and their negotiating clout with supermarkets.
Chiquita and Fyffes agreed to merge in April to create the world's biggest banana supplier. Continuación...