Banana production project in Angola with US company Chiquita suspended by Escom

24 September 2009

Luanda, Angola, 24 Sept – Escom, a subsidiary of Portugal’s Espirito Santo Group (GES), has announced the temporary suspension of the banana production project in Angola that it had in partnership with US multinational Chiquita Brands International.

Hélder Bataglia, chairman of the board of Escom said that his company’s exit from the banana project had been due, amongst other reasons, to the impact of the international crisis on the sector.

This project, which involved Escom and Chiquita, was announced in 2008, and its production base was Benguela province where over 3,000 jobs were due to be created.

Bataglia, who was speaking during the inauguration of the group’s headquarters in Luanda, also said that the decision to suspend the project was linked to the fact that the area provided by the government for planting the banana trees was far from the port of Lobito, which meant the project was not feasible.

“In the planning of the operation it was demonstrated that it was less profitable. And the only choice we had was to give up due to the prices on the international banana market, because of the crisis,” said Bataglia.

“For now, we have put the project on hold with Chiquita while we await better opportunities,” he added.

Bataglia also noted that the crisis had affected demand for bananas on the international market, and this was also one of the reasons for “freezing” the project. (macauhub)