CHARLOTTE, N.C. and DUBLIN, April 29, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) ("Chiquita") and Fyffes plc (ESM: FFY ID: AIM: FFY LN) ("Fyffes") today announced that they have revised certain of the conditions to consummation of their proposed combination transaction.
As previously announced on March 10, 2014, Chiquita and Fyffes have entered into a definitive agreement under which Chiquita and Fyffes will combine, subject to the terms and conditions of that agreement, in a stock-for-stock transaction that is expected to result in Chiquita shareholders owning approximately 50.7% of ChiquitaFyffes Limited ("ChiquitaFyffes"), and Fyffes shareholders owning approximately 49.3% of ChiquitaFyffes, on a fully diluted basis. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to complete the combination before the end of 2014.
Consummation of the combination is subject to the fulfillment of specified conditions. Those conditions were originally set out in Appendix III to the announcement on March 10, 2014 pursuant to Rule 2.5 of the Irish Takeover Rules (the "Rule 2.5 Announcement") relating to the proposed combination. The conditions set out in paragraph 3 of Part A of Appendix III to the Rule 2.5 Announcement reflected the parties' belief, based upon an analysis of the data available to the parties at that time, that the combination would not meet the mandatory notification thresholds under the EC Merger Regulation and, as a result, the European Commission would have jurisdiction to examine the combination only if: (i) the EU Member States with jurisdiction to review the transaction did not object; or (ii) the European Commission accepted a request from one or more EU Member States to review all or part of the transaction.
Subsequently, following an examination of additional data, including data made available by third parties, Chiquita and Fyffes have concluded that the combination satisfies the mandatory notification thresholds under the EC Merger Regulation. As a consequence, the conditions to completion of the combination that relate to obtaining approval under the EC Merger Regulation have been restated to reflect the mandatory jurisdiction of the European Commission. The substance of those conditions remains otherwise unchanged. The restated conditions are set out in Appendix I to this release.
In addition, at the request of Chiquita and Fyffes, the Irish Takeover Panel has decided to grant a derogation from the application of Rule 12(b)(i) of the Irish Takeover Rules to the proposed combination. The effect of Rule 12(b)(i), which applies to transactions regulated by the Panel that are within the European Commission's jurisdiction under the EC Merger Regulation, would have been that the scheme of arrangement portion of the combination would have lapsed according to the Irish Takeover Rules and the combination been temporarily suspended if, before the Fyffes shareholders approved the combination, the European Commission initiated a Phase II investigation in respect of the combination or referred the combination for review by a competent authority of an EU Member State. As a result of the derogation, the parties are now in a position to make a notification under the EC Merger Regulation earlier than would have been the case absent the derogation.
Chiquita and Fyffes also confirmed that ChiquitaFyffes Limited intends to file shortly with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") a registration statement on Form S-4 in connection with the proposed combination of Chiquita and Fyffes.
Save as disclosed in this announcement, there has been no material change in information previously published by Chiquita or Fyffes in connection with the combination.
ABOUT CHIQUITA BRANDS INTERNATIONAL, INC.
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) is a leading international marketer and distributor of nutritious, high-quality fresh and value-added food products - from energy-rich bananas, blends of convenient green salads and other fruits to healthy snacking products. The company markets its healthy, fresh products under the Chiquita® and Fresh Express® premium brands and other related trademarks. With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs approximately 20,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide. For more information, please visit the corporate web site at www.chiquita.com.
ABOUT FYFFES PLC
Fyffes is a leading international importer and distributor of tropical produce. With annual turnover in excess of $1.5 billion1, it is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and has operations in Europe, the U.S., Central and South America and has begun operations in Asia. Fyffes activities include the production, procurement, shipping, ripening, distribution and marketing of bananas, pineapples and melons. It markets its produce under a variety of trademarks including the Fyffes® and Sol® brands and employs over 12,000 people worldwide.
1 Includes share of revenue of Fyffes joint ventures of $342 million.
ChiquitaFyffes is currently a private limited company incorporated in Ireland that was formed solely for the purpose of implementing the combination. Prior to the effective date of the combination, ChiquitaFyffes will be re-registered, pursuant to the Irish Companies Acts, as a public limited company. To date, ChiquitaFyffes has not conducted any activities other than those incidental to its formation and the execution of the Transaction Agreement.
On the consummation of the combination (a) Fyffes will become a wholly owned subsidiary of ChiquitaFyffes and (b) Chicago Merger Sub Inc. ("MergerSub"), a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of ChiquitaFyffes, will merge with and into Chiquita, with the result that the separate corporate existence of MergerSub will cease and Chiquita will continue as the surviving corporation.
No Offer or Solicitation
This communication is not intended to and does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to subscribe for or buy or an invitation to purchase or subscribe for any securities or the solicitation of any vote or approval in any jurisdiction pursuant to the proposed combination or otherwise, nor shall there be any sale, issuance or transfer of securities in any jurisdiction in contravention of applicable law. No offer of securities shall be made except by means of a prospectus meeting the requirements of Section 10 of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
Important Additional Information Will Be Filed With The SEC
ChiquitaFyffes will file with the SEC a registration statement on Form S-4 that will include a Proxy Statement that also constitutes a Prospectus of ChiquitaFyffes. The Form S-4 will also include the Scheme Circular and Explanatory Statement required to be sent to Fyffes shareholders for the purpose of seeking their approval of the combination. Chiquita and Fyffes plan to post to their respective shareholders (and to Fyffes share option holders for information only) the definitive Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular in connection with the proposed combination described above and related transactions. INVESTORS AND SHAREHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS/SCHEME CIRCULAR (INCLUDING THE SCHEME EXPLANATORY STATEMENT) AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED OR TO BE FILED WITH THE SEC CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT CHIQUITA, FYFFES, CHIQUITAFYFFES, THE COMBINATION AND RELATED MATTERS. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain free copies of the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular (including the Scheme) and other documents filed with the SEC by ChiquitaFyffes, Chiquita and Fyffes through the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov. In addition, investors and shareholders will be able to obtain free copies of the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular (including the Scheme) and other documents filed by Chiquita, Fyffes and ChiquitaFyffes with the SEC by contacting Chiquita Investor Relations at: Chiquita Brands International, Inc., c/o Corporate Secretary, 550 South Caldwell Street, Charlotte, North Carolina 28202, or by calling (980) 636-5000, or by contacting Fyffes Investor Relations at c/o Seamus Keenan, Company Secretary, Fyffes, 29 North Anne Street, Dublin 7, Ireland or by calling + 353 1 887 2700.
Participants In The Solicitation
Chiquita, Fyffes, ChiquitaFyffes and their respective directors and executive officers may be considered participants in the solicitation of proxies in connection with the combination. Information about the directors and executive officers of Fyffes is set forth in its Annual Report for the year ended December 31, 2013, which was published on April 11, 2014 and is available on the Fyffes website at www.fyffes.com. Information about the directors and executive officers of Chiquita is set forth in its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, which was filed with the SEC on March 4, 2014 and its proxy statement for its 2014 annual meeting of shareholders, which was filed with the SEC on April 11, 2014. Other information regarding the participants in the proxy solicitations and a description of their direct and indirect interests, by security holdings or otherwise, will be contained in the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular described above and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available.
Safe Harbor Statement
This announcement contains certain statements that are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of Chiquita and Fyffes, including: the customary risks experienced by global food companies, such as prices for commodity and other inputs, currency exchange fluctuations, industry and competitive conditions (all of which may be more unpredictable in light of continuing uncertainty in the global economic environment), government regulations, food safety issues and product recalls affecting Chiquita and/or Fyffes or the industry, labor relations, taxes, political instability and terrorism; unusual weather events, conditions or crop risks; continued ability of Chiquita and Fyffes to access the capital and credit markets on commercially reasonable terms and comply with the terms of their debt instruments; access to and cost of financing; and the outcome of pending litigation and governmental investigations involving Chiquita and/or Fyffes, as well as the legal fees and other costs incurred in connection with these items. Readers are cautioned that any forward-looking statement is not a guarantee of future performance and that actual results could differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statement. Forward-looking statements relating to the combination involving Fyffes and Chiquita include, but are not limited to: statements about the benefits of the combination, including expected synergies and future financial and operating results; Fyffes and Chiquita's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions; the expected timing of completion of the combination; and other statements relating to the combination that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, expectations and projections and, as a result, are subject to risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that actual results will not materially differ from expectations. Important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements.
With respect to the combination, these factors include, but are not limited to: risks and uncertainties relating to the ability to obtain the requisite Fyffes and Chiquita shareholder approvals; the risk that Fyffes or Chiquita may be unable to obtain governmental and regulatory approvals required for the combination, or required governmental and regulatory approvals may delay the combination or result in the imposition of conditions that could reduce the anticipated benefits from the combination or cause the parties to abandon the combination; the risk that a condition to closing of the combination may not be satisfied; the length of time necessary to consummate the combination; the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; the risk that the cost savings and any other synergies from the combination may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; disruption arising as consequence of the combination making it more difficult to maintain existing relationships or establish new relationships with customers, employees or suppliers; the diversion of management time on transaction-related issues; the ability of the combined company to retain and hire key personnel; the effect of future regulatory or legislative actions on the companies; and the risk that the credit ratings of the combined company or its subsidiaries may be different from what the companies expect.
These risks, as well as other risks associated with the combination, will be more fully discussed in the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular that will be included in the Registration Statement on Form S-4 that will be filed with the SEC in connection with the combination. Additional risks and uncertainties are identified and discussed in Chiquita's reports filed with the SEC and available at the SEC's website at www.sec.gov and in Fyffes reports filed with the Registrar of companies available at Fyffes website at www.fyffes.com. Forward-looking statements included in this document speak only as of the date of this document. Chiquita does not undertake any obligation to update its forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this document.
No statement in this announcement is intended to constitute a profit forecast for any period, nor should any statements be interpreted to mean that earnings or earnings per share will necessarily be greater or lesser than those for the relevant preceding financial periods for Chiquita, or Fyffes or ChiquitaFyffes, as appropriate. No statement is this announcement constitutes an asset valuation.
Statement Required by the Takeover Rules
The directors of Chiquita accept responsibility for the information contained in this announcement other than that relating to Fyffes and the Fyffes Group and the directors of Fyffes and members of their immediate families, related trusts and persons connected with them. To the best of the knowledge and belief of the directors of Chiquita (who have taken all reasonable care to ensure that such is the case), the information contained in this announcement for which they accept responsibility is in accordance with the facts and does not omit anything likely to affect the import of such information.
The directors of Fyffes accept responsibility for the information contained in this announcement relating to Fyffes and the Fyffes Group and the directors of Fyffes and members of their immediate families, related trusts and persons connected with them. To the best of the knowledge and belief of the directors of Fyffes (who have taken all reasonable care to ensure such is the case), the information contained in this announcement for which they accept responsibility is in accordance with the facts and does not omit anything likely to affect the import of such information.
Dealing Disclosure Requirements
Under the provisions of Rule 8.3 of the Irish Takeover Rules, if any person is, or becomes, "interested" (directly or indirectly) in 1% or more of any class of "relevant securities" of Fyffes or Chiquita, all "dealings" in any "relevant securities" of Fyffes or Chiquita (including by means of an option in respect of, or a derivative referenced to, any such "relevant securities") must be publicly disclosed by not later than 3:30 p.m. (Irish time) on the "business day" following the date of the relevant transaction. This requirement will continue until the date on which the Scheme becomes effective or on which the "offer period" otherwise ends. If two or more persons co-operate on the basis of any agreement either express or tacit, either oral or written, to acquire an "interest" in "relevant securities" of Fyffes or Chiquita, they will be deemed to be a single person for the purpose of Rule 8.3 of the Irish Takeover Rules. Under the provisions of Rule 8.1 of the Irish Takeover Rules, all "dealings" in "relevant securities" of Fyffes by Chiquita or "relevant securities" of Chiquita by Fyffes, or by any person "acting in concert" with either of them must also be disclosed by no later than 12 noon (Irish time) on the "business day" following the date of the relevant transaction.
A disclosure table, giving details of the companies in whose "relevant securities" "dealings" should be disclosed can be found on the Irish Takeover Panel's website at www.irishtakeoverpanel.ie. "Interests in securities" arise, in summary, when a person has long economic exposure, whether conditional or absolute, to changes in the price of securities. In particular, a person will be treated as having an "interest" by virtue of the ownership or control of securities, or by virtue of any option in respect of, or derivative referenced to, securities. Terms in quotation marks are defined in the Irish Takeover Rules, which can be found on the Irish Takeover Panel's website.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not you are required to disclose a "dealing" under Rule 8, please consult the Irish Takeover Panel's website at www.irishtakeoverpanel.ie or contact the Irish Takeover Panel on telephone number +353 1 678 9020; fax number +353 1 678 9289.
The release, publication or distribution of this announcement in or into certain jurisdictions may restricted by the laws of those jurisdictions. Accordingly, copies of this announcement and all other documents relating to the combination are not being, and must not be, released, published, mailed or otherwise forwarded, distributed or sent in, into or from any Restricted Jurisdiction. Persons receiving such documents (including, without limitation, nominees, trustees and custodians) should observe these restrictions. Failure to do so may constitute a violation of the securities laws of any such jurisdiction. To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, the companies involved in the proposed combination disclaim any responsibility or liability for the violations of any such restrictions by any person.
Any response in relation to the combination should be made only on the basis of the information contained in the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular or any document by which the combination, including the Scheme, are made. Chiquita shareholders and Fyffes shareholders are advised to read carefully the formal documentation in relation to the proposed combination once the Proxy Statement/Prospectus/Scheme Circular has been dispatched.
Goldman Sachs & Co., Goldman Sachs International and affiliates ("Goldman Sachs") is acting as financial adviser to Chiquita and no one else in connection with the combination and will not be responsible to anyone other than Chiquita for providing the protections afforded to clients of Goldman Sachs or for providing advice in relation to the combination, the contents of this announcement or any transaction or arrangement referred to herein. Neither Goldman Sachs nor any of its affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Goldman Sachs in connection with this announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.
Wells Fargo Securities, LLC is acting as financial adviser to the Chiquita board of directors and no one else in connection with the combination and will not be responsible to anyone other than Chiquita for providing the protections afforded to clients of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC or for providing advice in relation to the combination, the contents of this announcement or any transaction or arrangement referred to herein. Neither Wells Fargo Securities, LLC nor any of its affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Wells Fargo Securities, LLC in connection with this announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.
Lazard & Co., Limited ("Lazard"), which is authorised and regulated in the United Kingdom by the Financial Conduct Authority, is acting exclusively as financial adviser to Fyffes and no one else in connection with the matters described in this announcement, and will not be responsible for anyone other than Fyffes for providing the protections afforded to clients of Lazard nor for providing advice in relation to the matters referred to in this announcement. Neither Lazard nor any of its affiliates owes or accepts any duty, liability or responsibility whatsoever (whether direct or indirect, whether in contract, in tort, under statute or otherwise) to any person who is not a client of Lazard in connection with this announcement, any statement contained herein or otherwise.
Davy and Davy Corporate Finance each of which is regulated in Ireland by the Central Bank of Ireland, are acting for Fyffes and no one else in relation to the matters referred to herein. In connection with such matters, Davy and Davy Corporate Finance, its affiliates and their respective directors, officers, employees and agents will not regard any other person as their client, nor will they be responsible to anyone other than Fyffes for providing the protections afforded to their clients or for providing advice in connection with the matters described in this Document or any matter referred to herein.
Restated Conditions of the Scheme Transaction and the Scheme
Relating to the EC Merger Regulation
The Scheme Transaction and the Scheme will be subject to the terms and conditions set out in Appendix III to the Rule 2.5 Announcement save that Paragraph 3 of Part A of Appendix III to the Rule 2.5 Announcement is revised and re-stated as set out below.
Capitalized terms in this Appendix I not otherwise defined in this announcement have the meanings ascribed to them in the Rule 2.5 Announcement.
"3. The Chiquita Parties and Fyffes have agreed that, subject to paragraph 6, the Combination will also be conditional upon the following matters having been satisfied or waived on or before the Sanction Date:
(a) the adoption of the Transaction Agreement by the affirmative vote of a majority of the votes cast by Chiquita Shareholders entitled to vote thereon, as required by the New Jersey Business Corporation Act;
(b) the NYSE shall have authorised, and not withdrawn such authorisation, for listing all of the Share Consideration to be issued in the Combination and all of the IrHoldco Shares (including any IrHoldco Shares issuable upon the exercise of outstanding equity awards and/or conversion of the Convertible Notes) to be delivered pursuant to the Merger subject to satisfaction of any conditions to which such approval is expressed to be subject;
(c) all applicable waiting periods under the HSR Act shall have expired or been terminated, in each case in connection with the Combination and/or the Merger, as the case may be;
(d) the issuing by the European Commission (the "Commission") of a final decision under Article 6.1(b), Article 8(1) or Article 8(2) of the EC Merger Regulation (the "EUMR"), declaring the Combination and/or the Merger, as the case may be, compatible with the common market subject to the fulfillment of one or more conditions or obligations, if any, as may be agreed to by the parties pursuant to Clause 7.2 of the Transaction Agreement;
(e) to the extent that all or part of the Combination and/or the Merger, as the case may be, is referred by the Commission under Articles 9(1) or 9(5) of the EUMR, or under Article 6(1) of Protocol 24 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area, to the Relevant Authority of one or member countries of the European Economic Area, the issuing by such Relevant Authority or Authorities (in case of a partial referral, in conjunction with a final decision of the Commission) of a final decision or decisions which satisfy (or together satisfy) Condition 3(d) above (that clause being interpreted mutatis mutandis);
(f) all other required regulatory clearances shall have been obtained and remain in full force and effect and all applicable waiting periods shall have expired, lapsed or been terminated (as appropriate), in each case in connection with the Combination and/or the Merger, as the case may be, under the antitrust, competition or foreign investment laws of any applicable jurisdiction in which Fyffes or Chiquita conducts its operations that has or asserts jurisdiction over the Transaction Agreement, the Combination, the Merger or the Scheme if the failure to obtain regulatory clearance in such jurisdiction would reasonably be expected to result in a material adverse effect on (A) IrHoldco and its Subsidiaries, taken as a whole (following the consummation of the Combination and the Merger) or (B) the benefits anticipated to be realized by Chiquita and Fyffes as a result of the transactions contemplated by the Transaction Agreement;
(g) no injunction, restraint or prohibition by any court of competent jurisdiction or Antitrust Order by any Relevant Authority which prohibits consummation of the Combination or the Merger or is reasonably likely, individually or in the aggregate, to constitute (if not removed) a Burdensome Condition shall have been entered and shall continue to be in effect;
(h) the Form S-4 shall have become effective under the Securities Act and shall not be the subject of any stop order or proceedings seeking any stop order; and
(i) the Transaction Agreement shall not have been terminated in accordance with its terms."
SOURCE Chiquita Brands International, Inc.