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Del Monte, Arab food firm end feud

/ 12:10 AM June 29, 2017

Campos family-led food conglomerate Del Monte Pacific Ltd. (DMPL) has ended a long-running licensing feud with Arab-owned Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., allowing them to start working together to scale up the century-old “Del Monte” brand globally.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, DMPL announced a series of new joint ventures with New York Stock Exchange-listed Fresh Del Monte, all meant to expand refrigerated offerings across all distribution and sales channels.

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Likewise part of the burgeoning partnership is the introduction of a new retail food and beverage concept modelled after Fresh Del Monte’s successful business in the Middle East.

These joint ventures will initially focus on the US market with the potential for expansion into other territories where the businesses of the groups complement each other, DMPL said.

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The collaboration is also seen to greatly increase the scale of the Del Monte brand by expanding into more “high-quality, healthy and convenient” product options.

The joint ventures are facilitated by the full and final settlement of all active litigation between DMPL and its US subsidiary Del Monte Foods Inc., on one hand, and Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., on the other hand, effective immediately.

The long-standing litigation between the two companies—which both run businesses that were once part of America’s Del Monte Corp.—centered on licensing rights and product distribution in various territories around the world.

“We are pleased that we have resolved our differences and put to rest the financial uncertainty that can arise from prolonged litigation,” DMPL chair Rolando Gapud said in a press statement.

“We look forward to combining the resources of Del Monte Pacific, our US subsidiary Del Monte Foods, and Fresh Del Monte Produce, and focusing our joint efforts on exciting new business opportunities that will provide consumers with more premium quality, healthy products,” Gapud added.

“This partnership offers tremendous opportunities for both companies to innovate on a much broader and deeper scale than either company can accomplish individually,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chair of Fresh Del Monte.

In 1989, America’s Del Monte Corp. divided into two separate entities; Del Monte Tropical Fruit and Del Monte Foods. Del Monte Tropical Fruit, which changed its name to Fresh Del Monte Produce, was eventually acquired by Abu-Ghazaleh’s group.

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Fresh Del Monte has since become one of the world’s leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of ready-to-eat food in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union.

For its part, DMPL—which is dually listed on the Philippine and Singaporean stock exchanges—traces its roots to the business originally set up by Del Monte Corp. in the Philippines in 1926. The Campos family’s Nutri Asia Ltd. acquired a controlling stake in DMPL in 2006.

In 2007, DMPL bought the S&W brand for Asia as well as Europe, Middle East and Africa from Del Monte US. DMPL bought the American consumer business under Del Monte Foods in 2014, reuniting with the mother brand.

“Each company brings a high level of knowledge, experience and commitment that comes from developing and building the iconic, trusted Del Monte brand. We also share similar visions for creating products and experiences that will meet the evolving needs of today’s consumer,” Abu-Ghazaleh added.

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TAGS: Arab food firm, Del Monte Pacific Ltd. (DMPL), Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Philippine Stock Exchange
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