US-based Chiquita Brands and Ireland's Fyffes Plc said Monday that they are merging, creating the world's larget banana supplier with annual revenue of $4.6 billion. In the stock-for-stock transaction Chiquita shareholders will own approximately 50.7 percent of the new company, named ChiquitaFyffes Plc, and Fyffes shareholders owning the remainder, the companies announced in a joint statement. The combined company will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange and based in Ireland. The Chiquita and Fyffes brands will also continue, the statement read. Chiquita CEO Ed Lonergan will serve as chairman, while Fyffes executive chairman David McCann will become the combined company's chief executive officer. ChiquitaFyffes will have an operating presence in more than 70 countries and a workforce of some 32,000 people. The transaction is expected to be complete this year, the statement read. Chiquita is one of the top global marketer and distributors of fresh food products, including bananas and packaged salads. Fyffes, though not quite as big, is also a major global player. "This is a natural strategic partnership that combines two complementary companies of long history," said Lonergan.