US food company Chiquita Brands International has posted an 18% rise in quarterly earnings, helped by sales from an acquisition.

Cincinnati-based Chiquita, which emerged from bankruptcy protection last year, reported second-quarter profit of $57m, or $1.41 per share, compared with $48m, or $1.19 per share, a year earlier.

The company’s net sales rose to $840m from $397m a year earlier, boosted by the company’s acquisition of fresh produce distributor Atlanta in March.

Chiquita said it expect gross cost cuts in 2003 to exceed its previous target of $40m, reported Reuters.

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