NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Shares of Chiquita Brands International, Inc.  (CQB) are up 1.5% to $14.25 after the marketer and distributor of bananas and other fresh produce, and Irish peer Fyffes, secured EU regulatory approval today for their $526 million merger to create the world's largest banana producer, Reuters reports.

The combined company would have a 14% share of the $7 billion global banana market and significant bargaining power with retailers, Reuters said. 

TheStreet Ratings team rates CHIQUITA BRANDS INTL INC as a Hold with a ratings score of C. TheStreet Ratings Team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate CHIQUITA BRANDS INTL INC (CQB) a HOLD. The primary factors that have impacted our rating are mixed some indicating strength, some showing weaknesses, with little evidence to justify the expectation of either a positive or negative performance for this stock relative to most other stocks. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, increase in stock price during the past year and notable return on equity. However, as a counter to these strengths, we also find weaknesses including unimpressive growth in net income, generally higher debt management risk and poor profit margins."

Highlights from the analysis by TheStreet Ratings Team goes as follows:

  • CQB's revenue growth has slightly outpaced the industry average of 1.4%. Since the same quarter one year prior, revenues slightly increased by 1.7%. This growth in revenue does not appear to have trickled down to the company's bottom line, displayed by a decline in earnings per share.
  • Compared to where it was 12 months ago, the stock is up, but it has so far lagged the appreciation in the S&P 500. Despite the fact that it has already risen in the past year, there is currently no conclusive evidence that warrants the purchase or sale of this stock.
  • The company, on the basis of change in net income from the same quarter one year ago, has significantly underperformed when compared to that of the S&P 500 and the Food Products industry. The net income has significantly decreased by 42.6% when compared to the same quarter one year ago, falling from $31.10 million to $17.84 million.
  • Currently the debt-to-equity ratio of 1.69 is quite high overall and when compared to the industry average, suggesting that the current management of debt levels should be re-evaluated. Along with the unfavorable debt-to-equity ratio, CQB maintains a poor quick ratio of 0.91, which illustrates the inability to avoid short-term cash problems. 
  • You can view the full analysis from the report here: CQB Ratings Report
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