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CHIQUITA ANNOUNCES EXPECTED THIRD QUARTER LOSS; EXTENDS EXCHANGE OFFER

 CHIQUITA ANNOUNCES EXPECTED THIRD QUARTER LOSS;
 EXTENDS EXCHANGE OFFER
 CINCINNATI, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) announced today that it expects to report a per share loss in the range of ($1.50) to ($1.60) for the quarter ended September 30, 1992, compared to a loss of ($.03) in the prior year quarter. Final results for the third quarter are expected to be reported on or about November 2, 1992.
 The decline in third quarter results was due equally to operating losses and non-operating items.
 The operating loss principally resulted from sharply increased banana costs and expenses for the entire nine months. These costs have been significantly impacted by a widespread decline in product quality resulting from the extraordinary outbreak of disease and unusual weather patterns (El Nino) affecting the banana industry's cultivations in the year to date period. In response to these quality issues, Chiquita reduced the volume of fruit marketed in the third quarter, resulting in a significant amount of unrecovered cost. The Company believes that the unusual product quality issues have been fully addressed by extraordinary control measures and reduction of lower quality purchased fruit and that its product quality has returned to standard. While higher costs will continue to depress operating results for the fourth quarter, the realignment of Chiquita's volumes and cost structure is expected to result in significant cost savings and normal cost levels in 1993.
 In contrast, third quarter banana prices were comparable to normal seasonal levels following a first half marked by significantly lower prices than comparable prior periods.
 Meat Division third quarter results continued to be adversely affected by lower industry margins on fresh meat resulting from heightened competition among packers. As previously announced, Chiquita is evaluating and implementing reorganization plans with respect to its Meat Division. These plans include aggressive cost reduction and consolidation coupled with the sale of certain Meat Division assets. The Company is pursuing the sale of assets including a significant non- core operation. Additionally, this restructure may include a management buyout of remaining Meat Division assets. Chiquita is also discussing the possible merger or joint venture of another prepared foods unit with a major international food company.
 Non-operating costs for the third quarter were significantly higher as a result of increased net interest expense and a nonrecurring charge of $10 million with respect to the proposed settlement of shareholder litigation arising earlier in 1992. This settlement is subject to court approval. The expected loss includes a $5 million charge for foreign income taxes and does not reflect any tax benefit that may be realized in future years from the carry forward of the current net loss.
 Chiquita announced today that it has extended until 5 P.M., Eastern Time, on Friday, October 30, 1992, its offer to issue depositary shares and related preferred shares in exchange for up to five million shares of its common stock. The offer was previously scheduled to expire on October 26, 1992. At the close of business on October 21, approximately 2.7 million shares of common stock had been tendered and not withdrawn, including a tender of one million shares by American Financial Corporation, which holds approximately 47% of Chiquita's outstanding common stock.
 Chiquita today authorized market purchases of an additional two million Chiquita common shares in addition to an earlier remaining authorization for approximately one million shares. As indicated in the offering materials, the Company may resume purchases 10 business days following termination of the exchange offer.
 Chiquita is a leading international marketer, processor and producer of quality fresh and prepared food products.
 -0- 10/22/92
 /CONTACT: Sandra W. Heimann of Chiquita Brands International, 513-784-8011/
 (CQB) CO: Chiquita Brands International, Inc. ST: Ohio IN: FOD SU: ERN


DA -- CL033 -- 3833 10/22/92 16:30 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 22, 1992
Words:632
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