US-based fruit company Chiquita is to merge with its Irish rival Fyffes, creating the world’s largest banana company worth about $1 billion.
The new company, named ChiquitaFyffes, is expected to sell about 160 million boxes of bananas annually, more than any rival.
“This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies,” said Chiquita boss Ed Lonergan.
ChiquitaFyffes will be listed in New York.
In the merger, shareholders will receive shares in each firm, with Fyffes shareholders owning about 49.3% of the combined company.
Ed Lonergan said the deal would help it to save costs and expand the areas it served.
The tie-up came as Fyffes revealed that its profit before tax for 2013 rose 9.8% to 28.7 million euros.
The global market is currently controlled by four firms – Chiquita, Dole Food Company, Fresh Del Monte and Fyffes – according to the UN.
The deal is expected to go through this year, but will be subject to review by competition authorities.
[youtube humepC2Dbz4 650]