DMPL ends licensing feud with Fresh Del Monte

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Del Monte Pacific and Fresh Del Monte end their legal squabble, start collaboration

Campos family-led food conglomerate Del Monte Pacific Ltd. (DMPL) has ended a long-running legal squabble with Arab-owned Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. over licensing and product distribution rights, allowing the two groups to start working together.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange on Wednesday, DMPL announced a series of new joint ventures with Fresh Del Monte, all meant to expand refrigerated offerings across all distribution and sales channels. Likewise part of the burgeoning partnership is to introduce 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 U.S. market with the potential for expansion into other territories where the businesses of the respective groups complement each other, DMPL said.

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

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 New York-listed Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., on the other hand, effective immediately.

The long-standing litigation between the two companies – which both operate businesses which 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.

Fresh Del Monte is 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.

“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.

A major joint initiative now planned by DMPL and Fresh Del Monte is the introduction of Del Monte-branded retail outlets, featuring an assortment of nutritious foods and beverages to meet the increasing demands of consumers for healthier food options. The companies are likewise collaborating on several product innovations, including a line of chilled juices, new varieties of prepared refrigerated fruit snacks, and guacamole and avocado products.

The collaboration is seen to offer the opportunity for each group to share expertise and optimize economies of scale in product development, operations, sourcing, supply chain, marketing and distribution.

In addition to retail and new product ventures, the companies have also agreed to a long-term mutual supply agreement to accelerate the expansion of Del Monte product sales in various markets around the world.

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