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Chiquita Brands expects 2 pct increase in 4Q sales

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Chiquita Brands International Inc. said Monday that it expects its fourth-quarter sales to total about $738 million, up about 2 percent from $722 million in the same period the year before.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based produce company also said that it expects to post an operating loss of $188 million to $233 million, compared with an operating loss of $12 million a year earlier.

Excluding non-cash goodwill and trademark impairment charges of between $170 million and $205 million and restructuring, relocation and other exit charges, the company said it expects its operating loss for the recent quarter to total between $10 million and $20 million.

Chiquita said stronger banana pricing and logistical savings partially offset lower salad results, lower average European currency exchange rates and several unusual cost items in the 2012 quarter, and the results were in line with the company's previous expectations.

For the full year 2012, Chiquita said it expects to post sales of about $3.1 billion and an operating loss of about $236 million to $281 million. Excluding items, the company said it expects an adjusted operating profit of $1 million to $11 million.