Chiquita-Fyffes banana merger gets EU antitrust OK

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust body says it has approved a merger between U.S. banana company Chiquita and Fyffes of Ireland in a deal that creates the world's largest banana supplier.

The 28-nation bloc's executive Commission said Friday "wholesale and retail customers would still have a significant number of other ... suppliers to choose from" even though the companies are the two largest banana suppliers in Europe.

The EU's approval is conditional on Fyffes giving up an exclusivity clause with shipping line Maersk to ensure fair transport competition. Chiquita Brands International Inc. and Fyffes PLC have also accepted to refrain from seeking similar agreements for 10 years.

As part of the stock transaction, Chiquita will relocate its headquarters from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Ireland in a so-called "inversion."