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Chiquita Brands International, Inc. will relocate its corporate headquarters to Charlotte, N.C., from its current Cincinnati location. The relocation, which is expected to be complete by the end of 2012, will include more than 300 positions currently based in Cincinnati, as well as another 100 additional positions currently spread across the U.S.
Chiquita said will offer the great majority of its Cincinnati employees the opportunity to relocate to the North Carolina headquarters.
"After an extensive review of our capabilities and needs, we are confident that Charlotte is the optimal location for our business and that our decision to relocate is in the long-term best interest of our company, customers, employees and shareholders," said Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita’s chairman and CEO. "Charlotte provided the most compelling economic opportunity to lower our long-term operating costs and the region is an attractive community for our employees. Importantly, the Charlotte airport provides improved access to international markets, customers and Chiquita operations around the world."
The decision to relocate Chiquita's headquarters is part of the company's ongoing efforts to make its operations more efficient, and follows a thoughtful and rigorous review of Chiquita's corporate operations. Potential locations were evaluated against multiple criteria, including costs and ease of access to Chiquita's operations.
The company, which markets its products under the Chiquita and Fresh Express premium brands and other related trademarks, said it expects total project related costs to total $30 to $35 million during the next two years, of which $24 million will be recaptured through state, local and other incentives during the next decade. In addition, the company said it expects to generate ongoing operating cost savings of more than $4 million annually during the next decade from the benefits of domestic consolidation of locations, lower rental rates and travel costs.
With annual revenues of more than $3 billion, Chiquita employs more than 21,000 people and has operations in nearly 70 countries worldwide.