NEW YORK – Chiquita has sealed a deal to be acquired by two Brazilian companies for about $681 million, with the U.S.-based banana producer expected to go private by the end of this year or early next.
The deal comes just days after the fresh produce company’s shareholders rejected plans to merge with Fyffes, another major banana producer, based in Ireland.
Chiquita Brands International, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, said Monday it will be acquired by the investment firm Safra Group and the juice company Cutrale Group for $14.50 per share, a 2 percent premium to its Friday closing price of $14.16.
The companies put the transaction’s value at about $1.3 billion, including the assumption of Chiquita’s debt.
It said its board unanimously approved the deal.
Home purchases show slight gain
WASHINGTON – The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes ticked up slightly in September, as it remained difficult to qualify for mortgage financing.
The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its seasonally adjusted pending home sales index rose 0.3 percent over the past month to 105. The index remains half a percentage point below its 2013 average, although 1 percent higher than a year ago.
Tight credit and price increases through the middle of 2013 have limited buying activity. About 15 percent of the real estate agents surveyed for the index said they couldn’t close a deal because the buyer was unable to obtain a mortgage.
Nutek Disposables recalling baby wipes
A Pennsylvania company is recalling all 10 brands of baby wipes it makes, including those made for Walgreens and Diapers.com, as some packs may contain a bacterium known to pose a risk to people with certain health problems.
Nutek Disposables is recalling baby wipes it made that were sold under 10 brands: Cuties, Diapers.com, Femtex, Fred’s, Kidgets, Member’s Mark, Simply Right, Sunny Smiles, Tender Touch and Well Beginnings. The products were distributed before Oct. 21 to Diapers.com, Family Dollar, Fred’s, Sam’s Club and Walgreens, according to a statement Saturday from the company that was posted on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s website.
Nutek tested its products after getting a few complaints about odor and discoloration, and found the presence of a bacterium called Burkholderia cepacia, or B. cepacia, in some products.
Nutek said it has received numerous complaints including fever, gastrointestinal issues, irritation, infections, rash and respiratory problems, but said the reports haven’t been confirmed to be related to its products. The company said it still is trying to find the cause of the problem and for now has stopped shipping baby wipes made at its facility.
The bacteria found in the wipes “poses little medical risk to healthy people,” but people with health issues such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis, “may be more susceptible to infections with B. cepacia,” the company said.
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