Fresh Del Monte strengthens position in tomato industry
by Eric Schroeder
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CORAL GABLES, FLA. — Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. is acquiring approximately 7,200 total acres of agricultural production land, packing houses and farm equipment located in Florida and Virginia.
“We are very excited to expand our vertical integration in our tomato product line with this acquisition in North America,” said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and chief executive officer of Fresh Del Monte Produce. “The acquisition of field grown tomato assets in Florida and Virginia complements our state-of-the-art greenhouse operations in Costa Rica and Guatemala, gives us the opportunity to continue to expand our tomato and vegetable product offerings, and enables us to provide our customers with high-quality, locally grown produce, strengthening our competitive position in the tomato industry.”
Mr. Abu-Ghazaleh added the acquisition is further proof of the company’s commitment to the tomato category and relationships with third-party producers.
Net income at Fresh Del Monte in the second quarter ended June 28 was $62 million, equal to $1.10 per share on the common stock, up 8% from $57.2 million, or 99c per share, in the same period a year ago. Net sales for the quarter were $1,023.9 million, compared with $957.6 million in the prior year period. The increase in overall net sales for the quarter was the result of increased selling prices in all of the company’s business segments and higher sales volume in the company’s banana and other fresh produce business segments.