Banana producer Chiquita closing corporate headquarters in North Carolina after buyout

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chiquita Brands International is closing its corporate headquarters in North Carolina after the banana producer’s buyout.

Chiquita’s interim Chief Executive Officer Brian Kocher told employees Wednesday the company’s Charlotte operations will shut down over the next year to eighteen months.

The announcement comes a week after Chiquita’s completed buyout for about $680 million by Brazilian juice company Cutrale Group and investment firm Safra Group, headed by Brazilian billionaire Joseph Safra.

Chiquita shareholders rejected an earlier plan to merge with Ireland-based Fyffes, with the companies planning to incorporate in Dublin to take advantage of lower tax rates.

About 300 Chiquita employees work in Charlotte. The city and North Carolina state officials offered Chiquita more than $23 million to move its headquarters from Cincinnati in 2011.