Chiquita’s Charlotte operations where about 300 employees work will shut down over the next year to 18 months, interim Chief Executive Officer Brian Kocher said. His statement to employees didn’t describe where the headquarters would be relocated.
The announcement comes a week after Chiquita’s completed buyout for about $680 million by Brazilian juice company Cutrale Group and investment firm Safra Group, headed by Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra. Chiquita was to become a subsidiary of the Cutrale-Safra Group.
Chiquita shareholders rejected an earlier plan to merge with Ireland-based Fyffes, with the companies planning to incorporate in Dublin to take advantage of lower tax rates.
The city and North Carolina state officials offered Chiquita more than $23 million to move its headquarters from Cincinnati in 2011. The deal was described as including a payback provision if the company left within 10 years.
“Chiquita’s leadership has assured us that the company will fulfill the obligations outlined in the economic development grant agreement,” Mayor Dan Clodfelter said in a statement. “We thank Chiquita for contributions to the community during their time in Charlotte.”