Chiquita, the US banana producer, reported yesterday a 89 per cent drop in first quarter net income, as it struggles to avoid bankruptcy. The world's number two banana group, behind Dole Foods, attributed the downfall to weak foreign currencies, particularly in Europe, and low prices in North America and Japan. However, it said it saw better pricing in Europe, while also holding out hope that the recent trade deal between the European Union and the US would help it in the future. Earlier this year, Chiquita said it could not meet certain debt obligations and asked bond holders to swap debt into common shares. The company blames its precarious financial condition on the EU's previous import policy, which slashed Chiquita's market share. The new trade deal could repair some of its lost share in Europe.