Brazil’s Cutrale and Safra Groups acquired Chiquita Brands International, Inc., Charlotte, N.C., via its affiliate, Cavendish Acquisition Corp.

"We look forward to working with Chiquita to build the premier and most sustainable fresh produce platform in the industry," according to a statement from Cutrale-Safra. "The expertise of the Cutrale Group, one of the world's most highly regarded agribusiness and juice companies, and the extensive global relationships of the Safra Group will be important strategic differentiators for Chiquita. We are confident this combination will benefit customers and consumers of the Chiquita and Fresh Express brands around the world. We will focus with Chiquita on strengthening its businesses and brands, including Chiquita bananas and Fresh Express salads and snacks, and enable further success in this very competitive environment through investments in the brands and operations. We bring to Chiquita a history of successful investment in the agribusiness sector, a commitment to providing customers the highest quality products and best service levels and a focus on delivering healthy products to consumers around the world." 

Chiquita will continue its ongoing strategic objective of refocusing the business on its core brands and strengths, while maintaining excellence in its customer relationships. As a result of this refocus and with Chiquita no longer a publicly owned company, Brian Kocher assumed the position of interim chief executive officer, succeeding Ed Lonergan. Rick Frier, executive vice president and CFO, will as well be exiting.