Irish High Court gives final green light to Fyffes’ takeover by Sumitomo

February 17 , 2017

Multinational tropical fruit distributor Fyffes has said it will delist its shares from the Dublin stock exchange next week after its takeover by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation was approved by Ireland’s High Court on Thursday (Feb. 16). 

The company said in December that it had agreed a deal to be bought by Swordus Ireland Holding Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Japanese entity for €751 million (US$798 million).

Sumitomo said it would pay €2.23 per share of Fyffes, representing a premium of 49% on the company’s closing price on Dec. 8.

“Trading of Fyffes shares on AIM and ESM will be suspended from 7.30 a.m. on 17 February 2017 and cancellation of Fyffes shares to trading on AIM and ESM will take effect from 7.00 a.m. on 20 February 2017,” Fyffes said in a statement today.

Fyffes is one of the leading banana importers into Europe, as well as a major marketer of pineapples and melons, while Sumitomo imports around 30% of the bananas into the Japanese market. 

ETI disciplinary committee

The Ireland-headquartered company is also preparing to answer allegations of worker exploitation at its subsidiaries in Costa Rica and Honduras. 

The U.K. government-sponsored Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) had called on the company to present a “detailed and timebound improvement plan” by Feb. 3.

However, The Irish Times reported that Fyffes had exercised its right as a member to present its case to a disciplinary committee drawn from ETI’s board, rather than submit an action plan.

“We expect the meeting to be sooner rather than later, but we are not in a position to say when, as that depends on getting everyone around the table,” an ETI spokeswoman was quoted as saying by the publication.

“It’s been a long, drawn-out process as it is.”

The escalation of the dispute to the sitting of an ETI disciplinary committee comes some 10 months after the body received an official complaint and calls for Fyffes to be expelled from the organization, The Irish Times reported.

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