Banana giant Chiquita Brands International Inc. said on Monday it has reached an agreement with creditors that will cut its debt and interest expense and that it will file for bankruptcy protection to get the plan approved.

The plan will cut debt and accrued interest by more than $700 million, while cutting Chiquita's interest expense by about $60 million a year, Cincinnati-based Chiquita said.

Chiquita said it will issue 40 million new shares as part of the restructuring, which involves only its publicly held debt and equity.

The existing common stock will be exchanged for 550,000 shares, or 1.38 percent, of the new common stock plus new warrants to purchase 9.2 million shares of additional new common stock, or 17.21 percent of the new stock on a fully diluted basis.

The 131-year-old company said in January it would restructure about $861 million of public debt after suffering losses of more than $1.5 billion over eight years during a dispute with the European Union over banana imports.