Business briefs: Orange crop forecast drops

March 11, 2014 

WINTER HAVEN -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Monday reduced the 2013-14 Florida orange crop by 1 million boxes (1 percent) from the February estimate to 114 million boxes, while the grapefruit and tangerine crops sustained larger percentage losses.

The entire adjustment came in the early-mid oranges based on deliveries to processors and packinghouses in early March, the USDA report said.

The USDA reduced this season's grapefruit by 1 million boxes to 16 million boxes (6 percent) after raising the crop by 500,000 boxes in February. The February grove survey showed colored grapefruit at a record low in size and drop rates for both.

Tangerine production dropped by 250,000 boxes (7 percent) to 3.25 million boxes from February. Tangelo production is up 100,000 boxes (13 percent) to 900,000 boxes.

Chamber to host power networking March 19

MANATEE COUNTY -- The Manatee Chamber of Commerce will host a power networking lunch for Chamber members March 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The luncheon will be at The Ranch Grill, 14475 State Road 70 East. All attendees will be given an opportunity to give a brief commercial on their business.

Cost is $12 for members and $17 for non-members. Reservations are required. For more information, contact Jen Bartolone at 941-748-4842, ext. 122.

PR professionals group offers blogging lessons

SARASOTA -- The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association will host a session on blogging at its March 19 meeting.

Robin Draper, founder of Authentic Florida, will present "Passionate Blogging" at the association's monthly professional development meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Meadows Country Club, 3101 Longmeadow, Sarasota.

Draper will share the lessons she learned while developing her blog. Learn how she created and promoted her website on a "shoestring budget" while building a business. Her website was recently voted "Best Food Blog" by the 2014 Florida Blogger and Social Media Conference.

Register at cwcfpra.com or by email at rsvp@cwcfpra.com.

Chiquita to acquire Fyffes, rival fruit supplier

LONDON -- Chiquita Brands International Inc., owner of the namesake banana label, has agreed to pay $559 million in stock for Ireland's Fyffes to create the world's biggest supplier of the fruit.

The combined company will be called ChiquitaFyffes, Chiquita and Fyffes said Monday in a joint statement. The deal brings together two of the world's oldest fruit importers, which between them have operations spanning the Americas, Europe and

Asia.

Chiquita Chief Executive Officer Ed Lonergan will become chairman of ChiquitaFyffes. Investors will get 0.1567 of a share in ChiquitaFyffes for each Fyffes share, while Chiquita holders will receive one share in the new company for each one of the existing company.

Fyffes Chairman David McCann will become CEO of the combined company, which will be domiciled in Ireland, trade in New York and have annual sales of about $4.6 billion. The transaction is expected to close this year, pending approval by shareholders and the Irish High Court.

Chiquita investors will own about 50.7 percent of the combined entity, with Fyffes shareholders holding the remainder. As well as bananas, ChiquitaFyffes will supply melons, pineapples and packaged salads. The new business will target at least $40 million of annual cost savings by the end of 2016 through more efficient purchasing.

-- Herald staff and wire reports

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