Chiquita Brands International's Q2 earnings fell 18% to US$78M as revenue dropped 5% to US$870M, driven by sharply lower sales of salads, healthy snacks, melons, vegetables

CINCINNATI , August 3, 2011 () – Chiquita Brands reported Wednesday that its second-quarter net income fell 18 percent as the produce company struggled with lower sales of salads and other produce.

Chiquita, based in Cincinnati, said it earned $78 million, or $1.68 per share, for the quarter, down from $95 million, or $2.06 per share, in the same quarter last year. After adjusting for several one-time items in both periods, the company earned 73 cents per share, compared with $1.40 last year.

Chiquita's total revenue fell 5 percent to $870 million. The company said revenue from bananas rose 1.5 percent on higher prices, while revenue from salads, healthy snacks and other produce -- such as melons and vegetables -- fell sharply.

The results missed analyst expectations for earnings of $1.13 per share on revenue of $882.5 million.

Chiquita said it has taken several steps to improve its performance including an organization change of its salad business that should cut costs by $15 million annually and debt refinancing and reduce its interest costs by $11 million annually. The company said it is on track for a 3 percent full-year revenue increase.

Shares of the company fell 45 cents, nearly 4 percent, to $11 in after-hours trading.

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