Chiquita Brands International has swung to a first-half loss as a drop in sales and higher sourcing costs hit profits.

In the six months to the end of June, the US produce giant booked a net loss of US$6m compared to earnings of $102m last year. Operating profit in the period slid to $17m from $56m a year earlier,

Net sales dropped 4.1% to $1.63bn. Chiquita blamed lower pricing for bananas and a decrease in the euro for the decline.

For the remainder of 2012, Chiquita said it will continue to take “the necessary action” to control and lower operating costs in a bid to offset the “headwinds” it said it expects to continue to affect its core businesses.

Alongside the results, Chiquita yesterday unveiled plans to revamp its business to boost profits. The change in strategy will see CEO Fernando Aguirre will step down.