Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Tristate summary

Chiquita sells out of Fla. venture

Staff/wire reports

Cincinnati's Chiquita Brands International Inc., the world's biggest banana producer, sold its stake in a Florida citrus joint venture to its partner for an undisclosed amount of cash and the assumption of debt.

The Fort Pierce, Fla.-based Packers of Indian River Ltd. venture grows and packs grapefruit and other citrus products. Its assets include two packing houses and about 6,000 acres of groves, Chiquita said in a statement.

The sale follows Chiquita's April announcement to sell its money-losing Panamanian fruit business to reduce costs. It has said it plans to trim spending by $110 million by the end of 2005.

BWAY acquires plastics company

Atlanta-based BWAY Corp., steel-can maker with a plant in Anderson Township, has expanded into plastic containers with the acquisition of SST Industries in Loveland.

The purchase price wasn't disclosed. SST, owned by businessman Winfield Scott, employs 130 in Loveland. The acquisition also includes SST plants in Peachtree City, Ga., and Fredericksburg, Va. BWAY, which produces paint, coffee and aerosol cans, said SST has annual revenues of $30 million. The company makes industrial packaging, rigid plastic pails and blow-molded containers.

Store focuses on young customers

The head of Columbus-based Limited Too didn't have to look far from home to come up with a name for his company's new discount stores geared to young girls. Chairman and chief executive Mike Rayden named them after his daughter Justice.

The company is dropping its line of stores for older girls, called mishmash, in favor of discount stores geared toward girls 7 to 14.

"We are going to better focus on our core customers," spokesman Robert Atkinson said.

The Justice stores will offer apparel, swimwear, footwear and other products similar to those at Limited Too, but at prices 25 percent to 30 percent lower.

Kentucky lures auto-parts plant

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has authorized $12 million in incentives to try to attract a Canadian auto-parts company to a new industrial park near Bowling Green.

Magna International Inc. also is considering neighboring states for a $132.5 million plant that will build frames for Ford Explorers, a Kentucky official said. The plant would employ 300.

The Kentucky incentives were offered for Magna to locate in the Kentucky TriModal Transpark, an industrial park north of Bowling Green. City and Warren County officials broke ground for the park Monday.

Steve Jones, director of tax incentives for the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development, said Tennessee, Indiana and Illinois are also trying to land the plant.

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