CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Chiquita Brands International struggled in the first quarter due to drought and banana shortages which resulted in a $25 million loss, the company said Friday.
In 2013, Chiquita made a $2 million profit during its first quarter.
"While we are confident in our 2014 progress toward our long term financial targets and benefits from our 'return to the core' strategic plan, our first quarter results did not meet expectations," said Ed Lonergan, Chiquita's president and chief executive officer.
Lonergan said the company was hurt by a drought in Central America, which caused shortages from the company’s banana farms. It forced them to use other expensive markets for their banana supply.
"Drought conditions in Central America and winter storms in North America and over the Atlantic disrupted our value chain and market demand for our products. While we grew our North American banana volume in excess of 5 percent compared to first quarter of 2013, shortfalls in contracted and owned farm supply required purchase of expensive weekly market fruit to serve our contracted business and resulted in inefficient shipping choices and short supply to our weekly market customers across countries. "
Chiquita recently announced plans to merge with an Irish company and move its headquarters from Charlotte.