(June 15) CINCINNATI – Amidst a federal investigation into paying for protection from terrorists, Chiquita Brands International Inc. is selling its Colombian banana producing and port operations.

The Cincinnati-based international producer, distributor and marketer announced June 11 that it had entered a definitive agreement to sell its Banadex banana subsidiary to Invesmar Ltd., the holding company of C.I. Banacol SA for $51.5 million.

The announcement follows Chiquita’s disclosure that it was the target of a Department of Justice investigation into Banadex.

In the deal, Chiquita will receive $28.5 million in cash while Investmar will accept $15 million in debt and $8 million in pension liabilities. Chiquita says it expects to take a $5 million after-tax loss on the deal.

The agreement also includes two separate requirements that Chiquita buy 11 million boxes of Colombian bananas from Banacol’s affiliates and about 2.5 million boxes of golden pineapples from Costa Rica a year for eight years.

The deal is expected to be completed by July 11.

Banacol started the acquisition discussions, said Mike Mitchell, a Chiquita spokesman. The investigation, he said, was only one factor in the transaction.

Banadex, which ships 11 million boxes of bananas a year, accounts for 9% of Chiquita’s banana supply. Central and South American plantations supply most of Chiquita’s 130 million boxes of bananas a year.