03/10/2014 08:17 EDT | Updated 03/10/2014 08:59 EDT

Chiquita Merges With Fyffes To Form World's Top Banana Firm

Bloomberg via Getty Images
UNITED STATES - MARCH 31: Chiquita bananas sit on display in a supermarket in New York, U.S., on Monday, March 31, 2008. Chiquita Brands International Inc. faces possible damages of $780 million, 16 times what it lost last year over the murders of five American missionaries by Marxist rebels a decade ago in Colombia. The Cincinnati-based owner of the namesake banana brand was fined $25 million after pleading guilty to paying $1.7 million to paramilitary militias from 1997 to 2004. (Photo by Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

LONDON -- Chiquita has combined with Dublin-based Fyffes to become the world's top banana company.

The stock-for-stock transaction announced Monday creates a global banana and fresh produce company with $4.6 billion in annual revenues.

The new company, ChiquitaFyffes, will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of approximately 32,000 people. It will become the largest company in the global banana market with sales of more than 160 million boxes annually.

Ed Lonergan, Chiquita's chief executive officer, says the deal creates a strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies that will work to bring best practices in countries where they operate.

Chiquita Brands International is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and has a big presence in the United States while Fyffes has a major presence in Europe.

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