(Feb. 6) In an effort to refinance some of its debt, Chiquita Brands International Inc. is offering $150 million of senior convertible notes, said Ed Loyd, manager of investment relations and corporate communications.

The Cincinnati-based company has received consent from holders of its 7.5% senior notes due in 2014 to amend provisions in the indenture.

Chiquita has reached an agreement with the New York branch of Rabobank Nederland to refinance the company’s $200 million revolving credit facility and a portion of its $326 million Term Loan C. Rabobank will give Chiquita a six-year $200 million senior secured revolving credit facility and a six-year $200 million senior secured term loan facility.

Loyd said Chiquita will offer the aforementioned senior convertible notes as part of the agreement with Rabobank Nederland and plans to use net proceeds from the offering to repay a portion of Term Loan C.

That loan would have been due in 2011 and 2012, Loyd said, but the refinancing extends the company’s debt maturity by making the notes due in 2016.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Morgan Stanley & Co. are joint managers of the offering.

The refinancing is intended to lower Chiquita’s interest expense. The company owed $814 million at the end of 2007, down from more than $1 billion owed at the end of 2006.

Chiquita plans to announce its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results Feb. 19.