(Nov. 7) Chiquita Brands International Inc. is the latest major fruit distributor to report losses, at least partially as a result of the recent spinach-related E. coli outbreak.

Shares of Cincinnati-based Chiquita, which had tumbled nearly 41% in the last year, closed at $12.61 Nov. 6 on the New York Stock Exchange, after the company reported a third-quarter loss of $96.4 million — down from a $300,000 profit a year earlier. The latest closing price was near the stock’s 52-week bottom of $12.52 established Oct. 6.

Chiquita stock hit its year-long high of $23.61 Nov. 10, 2005.

The company said it also suffered due to lower demand and prices for bananas in Europe and absorbed a charge for goodwill impairment due to lower-than-expected business at the company’s Germany-based subsidiary, Atlanta AG.

Quarterly sales rose 8%, to $1.03 billion, from $954 million a year ago.

Fernando Aguirre, Chiquita’s chairman and chief executive described the quarterly results as “disappointing and worse than expected.”