Catania Chile SA, an independent company and a division of M.L. Catania Co. Ltd., has halted operations in Chile and filed for bankruptcy protection.

Paul Catania Jr., executive vice president of the Toronto-based parent company, confirmed the closing of Catania Chile and the bankruptcy filing.

Catania declined to comment until the matter is resolved in Chilean courts.

Of the 513,000 cartons of fruit Catania Chile exported during the 2007-08 season, about 25%, 127,000 cartons, went to the U.S. and Canada. The statistics, from Eximfruit, indicate kiwifruit and grapes represented the bulk of the fruit shipped to North America with smaller volume of lemons and cherries.

Catania Chile closes, files for bankruptcy