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Chiquita: promosso il piano di riorganizzazione

Chiquita Brands International, la holding del gruppo Chiquita, sta uscendo dalla crisi

dopo che una corte degli Stati Uniti ha approvato il piano di riorganizzazione predisposto per uscire dallo stato di bancarotta.

Questa novità si pensa possa aprire la strada al tentativo di acquisto da parte di un gruppo di investitori americani e latinoamericani sotto la guida della banca di investimenti Latin America Finance Group. La cordata starebbe per offrire circa 800 milioni di dollari per entrare in possesso della società.

Secondo il piano di ristrutturazione i creditori riceveranno circa il 95.5 per cento della società in cambio della cancellazione di circa 700 milioni di dollari in debiti.

Chiquita wins rescue backing
By Ken Warn in Chicago

Chiquita Brands International, the world’s second-biggest banana producer, is heading out of bankruptcy after a US judge approved its Chapter 11 reorganisation plan.

The company expects the plan to become effective on March 19 and its new securities to begin trading on March 20.

Chiquita’s emergence from bankruptcy could open the way to a bid for the Cincinnati-based company. A group of US and Latin American investors, led by the investment banking boutique Latin America Finance Group, is considering offering about $800m for Chiquita.

Chiquita was hurt by the banana trade war between the US and European Union and filed for bankruptcy protection in November.

The company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Chiquita Brands, also said on Friday it had secured improved access to credit. It has secured a $130m multi-year credit led by Wells Fargo Bank, a $10m increase on its existing credit facility and at “significantly” lower interest rates. The facility consists of a $60m revolving credit and a $70m term loan.

Under the restructuring plan, creditors will receive about 95.5 per cent of the company in exchange for cancelling about $700m in debt. The plan was approved by a US bankruptcy judge on Friday after winning the overwhelming support of bond and equity holders last Monday.

“Although the process of restructuring is always difficult, we believe that we have achieved the best possible balance among the interests of all the company’s stakeholders,” said Steven Warshaw, chief executive.

Court approval of the plan was “a major step toward completion of our financial restructuring”.

The reorganisation involves only the publicly held debt and securities of Chiquita Brands International, the group holding company. Its subsidiaries were unaffected by the Chapter 11 filing and have continued to operate normally during the restructuring.

da Financial Times – Published: March 10 2002 20:38 | Last Updated: March 11 2002 16:09

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