Fruit and vegetable marketing and distributing giant Chiquita Brands International announced this weekend that Judge J. Vincent Aug, Jr. authorized the company to solicit votes on its Pre-Arranged Plan of Reorganization under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code.

The Plan provides for the restructuring of the publicly held debt and equity securities of Chiquita Brands International, which is a parent holding company without any business operations of its own. The Plan does not affect the Company’s business operations, which are conducted by independent subsidiaries that generate positive cash flow and have access to their own credit facilities. These subsidiaries continue to operate normally, and their creditors will be unaffected.

A Disclosure Statement and an accompanying ballot will be mailed next week to the Company’s public debt and equity holders, who will vote on the Company’s restructuring plan. All ballots must be received by the solicitation agent by 28 February.

The Court hearing on confirmation of the plan is scheduled for 8 March in Cincinnati.

Copies of Chiquita’s press releases announcing Board nominees (17 January 2002), its Chapter 11 Filing (28 November 2001), and its agreement with bondholders (12 November 2001) are available on