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Vulnerable Chiquita braces for Hart attack

Stored under Caption This!GamesMiscellaneousNewsRecipesRelated EBay AuctionsReviewsVideosVisual Stimulation on July 17, 2006

MOTHER Nature might not be the only thing banana producer Chiquita Brands South Pacific has to contend with this year.

Less than four months after Cyclone Larry devastated its banana plantations and forced Chiquita to issue its third profit downgrade, speculation is mounting that Kiwi billionaire Graeme Hart could be at least one of several parties interested in launching a takeover of the troubled company.

Yesterday Victorian food company Select Harvests admitted it had shown interest in Chiquita less than a year ago and refused to rule out taking another look, although market speculation deems the Hart-controlled Burns Philp or private equity firms as the most likely candidates.

Chiquita's share price soared almost 18 per cent, or 9.5c, over just three days to close at 63c on Friday as trading volumes last week accounted for almost half of the Chiquita shares which have changed hands over the past three months. The stock closed down 2c at 61c yesterday.

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