CINCINNATI (AP) -- Chiquita Brands International Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Wednesday under an agreement reached earlier to reduce the company's debt by about $700 million.
Managers had said they expect that the deal with bondholders over the holding company will shorten Chiquita's time under reorganization.
The filing will not affect Chiquita's subsidiaries -- including its famous banana exporter -- or their $413 million debt.
"It is our plan to emerge from Chapter 11 in the first quarter of 2002 with a solid balance sheet and a bright future," Steven G. Warshaw, president and chief executive, said in a news release.
Cincinnati-based Chiquita has struggled financially in recent years because of a worldwide glut of bananas that hurt prices and a long battle over European banana import quotas that Chiquita regarded as unfair. The European Union's quotas cost Chiquita millions of dollars, the company said.
The reorganization plan must be approved by bondholders and U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
It would reduce debt and accrued interest from about $950 million to $250 million. It also would cut Chiquita's future annual debt interest by about $60 million, the company said.
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