Irish fresh produce giant Fyffes has filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an investor presentation in which it corrects what it calls inaccurate information regarding the "misleading statements" made by the Cutrale Group and the Safra Group, in connection with Fyffes proposed combination with Chiquita Brands International.
The presentation, which is available in the investor relations section of Fyffes website, highlights a number of points such as Fyffes' proven track record in growing its business with over 50 successfully integrated acquisitions under current management’s tenure, the long-standing relationships it holds with producers and 10,000 hectares of managed production, and the stable business it offers with 74 per cent of Fyffes European banana volume sold through contracted sales.
Fyffes also points to its position as the number one banana importer in Europe and the leading melon importer in the US, as well as boasting the oldest fruit brand globally.
"Fyffes business is far less volatile than Chiquita or others in the industry as evidenced by the fact that 74 per cent of Fyffes European banana volume is sold through contracted sales," the group outlines. "There is no certainty Cutrale/Safra’s proposal preserves optionality for Chiquita shareholders.
"Cutrale/Safra have sought to create the false impression that Fyffes shareholders will be unaware of the consequences of Cutrale/Safra proposal and that Fyffes shareholders will allow themselves to serve as a stalking horse. Cutrale/Safra have deliberately ignored the fact that the approval of the combination requires a special majority of Fyffes shareholders and there can be no certainty that a sufficient number of Fyffes shareholders will vote in favour of the combination if Chiquita has adjourned its meeting to negotiate a contrary transaction with Cutrale/Safra."
The statement is a reaction to the increasingly aggressive campaign from the joint Cutrale/Safra bid for Chiquita, which has urged shareholders to vote against the Chiquita-Fyffes merger in favour of the bid from the Brazilian organisations.
After Chiquita rejected Cutrale/Safra’s unsolicited proposal of a US$661m takeover in favour of upholding its commitment to merge with Fyffes, the Cutrale/Safra partnership attacked the Chiquita board, claiming it had a record of poor decision making, while also stating that the Fyffes deal carried substantial risks for the US group.