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CHIQUITA ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS

 CHIQUITA ANNOUNCES FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS
 CINCINNATI, April 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiquita Brands


International (NYSE: CQB) today reported fully-diluted earnings per share for the quarter ended March 31, 1992 of $.10 on net income of $5.5 million and sales of $1.2 billion. In the first quarter of 1991, Chiquita earned $1.02 per share on net income of $49.1 million and sales of $1.2 billion.
 The decline in first quarter earnings was largely attributed to unusual price competition in the European banana market which sharply reduced Fresh Foods earnings.
 Also impacting short-term earnings was interest on long-term debt financing obtained in 1991 for Chiquita's multi-year investment spending program for additional shipping, production, marketing and distribution assets as well as acquisitions. With high levels of cash ($695 million at March 31, 1992) temporarily invested at low money market rates, first quarter results were impacted by a negative spread of approximately $.16 per share.
 Keith E. Lindner, President and Chief Operating Officer, said: "Unanticipated European competition marked by deep price discounting affected seasonal trendline advances in pricing early in the first quarter, and this pricing trend has continued through today." He further indicated that, absent unforeseeable factors, Chiquita expects to report a down second quarter, clearly below $1.00 earnings per share, and a substantially down first half.
 Lindner stated: "We are the leader in a healthy, growing, long-term profitable industry, supported by eight consecutive years of good performance. Chiquita does not expect to meet its trendline earnings objective in 1992. We are dissatisfied with our short-term results, and we are confidently managing through this situation with a continued focus on long-term shareholder value. Today, we are announcing several actions being taken to ensure that our investors share our confidence in Chiquita's long-term performance."
 Chiquita authorized a new share repurchase program for open market purchases of up to two million additional Chiquita shares over the coming months. Lindner commented: "Share purchases can provide an excellent long-term return on investment and will enhance Chiquita's long-term earnings per share."
 As further indication of confidence in a return to its long- term earnings objective, Chiquita authorized a 13 percent increase in its annual dividend to $.68 per share ($.17 quarterly) from $.60 per share, effective with the next regular quarterly dividend declaration in May.
 Chiquita is a leading international marketer, processor and producer of quality fresh and prepared food products.
 CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
 SUMMARY OF CONSOLIDATED OPERATIONS
 FOR THE QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1992 AND 1991
 (In thousands, except for per share amounts)
 Quarter Ended
 March 31,
 1992 1991
Net sales $1,158,260 $1,179,927
Operating income $ 30,775 $ 87,672
Income before income taxes $ 7,905 $ 75,498
Net income $ 5,505 $ 49,098


Earnings per share:
 Primary $ .10 $ 1.03
 Fully diluted $ .10 $ 1.02
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding 54,741
 47,877


Quarterly results are subject to significant seasonal variations and are not necessarily indicative of the results of operations for a full fiscal year.
 -0- 4/23/92
 /CONTACT: Sandra W. Heimann of Chiquita, 513-784-8011/
 (CQB) CO: Chiquita Brands International ST: Ohio IN: FOD SU: ERN


cg -- CL020 -- 2142 04/23/92 16:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 23, 1992
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