It’s almost near certainty that the last banana you ate came from one of four firms controlling the global market. Well, two of these firms have agreed to merge, creating the world’s largest banana company. The agreement between the United States-based Chiquita and the Irish firm Fyffes is expected to create a company worth around $1 billion, which will sell around 160 million boxes of bananas. That’s a lot of green. And, yellow.
The merger brings into question the future of the supermarket’s cheapest, most-ubiquitous fruit. The world’s two remaining sizeable banana companies – Dole Food Company and Fresh Del Monte – are left to ponder their next move, as both are significantly larger than Fyffes. With a “mega-corporation” in the market – to be listed in New York on the NYSE – it remains to be seen if there will be a push for further consolidation. And what if the deadly plant-killing Panama disease soon arrives in Latin America (which imports the large majority of the bananas to the United States)? Is there a future for genetically modified bananas? While there is now a clear leader in the sector, many questions remain regarding the very existence of the fruit itself.
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