The Supply Side briefs, Chiquita Brands merger, Heinz sues Figueroa

• Chiquita Brands and Fyffes to merge
Produce giants Chiquita Brands and Fyffes agreed to a merger announced Monday (March 10). The stock-for-stock transaction is expected to result in Chiquita shareholders owning approximately 50.7% of the combined company and Fyffes shareholders owning approximately 49.3% of the joint business on a fully diluted basis, according the release.

The agreement creates a global banana and other fresh produce company with approximately $4.6 billion in annual revenues. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the transaction before the end of 2014. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people around the world.

"This is a milestone transaction for Chiquita and Fyffes that brings together the best of both companies which, we believe, will create significant value for our shareholders and offer immediate benefits for customers and consumers worldwide," said Ed Lonergan, Chiquita's CEO. "This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history and great reputations that have built upon an unwavering commitment to exceed our customers' expectations.”

The company anticipates the transaction will provide annualized recurring before tax overhead and operational synergies of at least $40 million by the end of 2016. These synergies are comprised of efficiencies in the areas of logistics and procurement.

Chiquita Brands is a supplier for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with a sales office in Bentonville.

• H.J. Heinz sues over trademark infringement
Ketchup giant Heinz filed suit against Irving, Texas-based Figueroa Brothers claiming it copied the design of its ketchup bottle. The trademark infringement lawsuit was filed last week in federal court, Dallas, according to the Dallas Morning News.

Heinz’s complaint notes they’ve tried to settle “amicably” with Figueroa Brothers but have had no luck. Heinz said the bottle design used by Figueroa Brothers “is likely to cause confusion, or deceive customers who think they are buying Heinz.”

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The plaintiffs asked the court to require Figueroa Brothers to discontinue using the bottle design and labels which are too close to the trademarks held by Heinz.

Heinz is a supplier to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with a sales office in Rogers.

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