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Del Monte Pacific to join FieldFresh as strategic joint venture partner

  • ● Venture to focus on value added products
  • ● FieldFresh to acquire the manufacturing facility of Del Monte Pacific in India

New Delhi, September 28, 2007: Bharti Enterprises, one of India’s leading business groups, and EL Rothschild Limited, today announced that it will induct Del Monte Pacific Limited as a strategic partner in their joint venture, FieldFresh Foods Pvt. Ltd., with an equity of 40%. Bharti will continue to hold 50% in the company, with Rothschild staying in the company as a minority partner.

FieldFresh was incorporated with a focus on linking Indian fields with the world. The company has been exporting fresh fruits and vegetables to key markets including UK, the Middle East and Europe. The renewed focus of FieldFresh will reflect the changing retail environment and move from just fresh produce to processing. Given the growing opportunities in the Indian economy, FieldFresh plans to enhance its focus through value added products in the domestic market. It will also evolve a comprehensive strategy for serving the needs of the Business-to-Business segment. The company will continue to cater to export markets.

Commenting on the announcement, Rakesh Bharti Mittal, Vice-Chairman, Bharti Enterprises said, “We look forward to having Del Monte Pacific as a partner in our agri venture, FieldFresh. Having created the basic building blocks of the business in the fresh produce category, we are looking at upscaling our operations through processing and value added products. Del Monte will bring to FieldFresh its immense strength and experience in the area of processing and branded food products. Going forward, our aim is to emerge as a significant player in this segment.”

Del Monte Pacific Limited is a leading company in the area of large scale agro operations, processing, marketing and distribution of premium-quality food and beverage products. The company’s operations span Philippines, China and India. At the same time, it exports its products worldwide. Globally, Del Monte Pacific enjoys a leading market share for processed pineapple products and is a leading market player in mixed fruits, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce, juice and tomato ketchup in the Philippines. In India, Del Monte Pacific is engaged in the production, distribution and sale of mango pulp and puree. FieldFresh is acquiring the manufacturing facilities of Del Monte Pacific in India.

Mr. Joselito D. Campos Jr., Managing Director of Del Monte Pacific Limited, said, “India is the second largest producer of fruits and vegetables in the world, but with an insignificant percentage of processed foods. Currently, about 20-25% of fruits and vegetables are wasted due to spoilage. The potential in both fresh and processed segments is tremendous. We are excited to join hands with Bharti and Rothschild, who have done pioneering work in the agri sector in India”.

According to Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Chief Executive, EL Rothschild Limited, “We are delighted to have brought this company to a point where it has attracted large international players like Del Monte Pacific. We see this transaction as one template for what we can do in India. We are committed to a broad range of investments in India where E.L. Rothschild partners with the best international brands to bring expertise, distribution and capital into the best operations in India for a win-win for all parties. This is a positive way for us to participate in the explosive economic growth of India. Our continued investment in FieldFresh represents our belief in the strong future for the venture as it moves to the next level.”

Bharti Enterprises

Bharti Enterprises is one of India’s leading business groups with interests in telecom, agri business, insurance and retail. Bharti has been a pioneering force in the telecom sector with many firsts and innovations to its credit. Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company, is one of India’s leading private sector providers of telecommunications services with an aggregate of 48.85 million customers as of end of Augsut ‘07, spanning mobile, fixed line, broadband and enterprise services. Bharti Airtel was recently ranked amongst the best performing companies in the world in the BusinessWeek IT 100 list 2007. Bharti Teletech is the country’s largest manufacturer and exporter of telephone terminals. Bharti has a joint venture with ELRo Holdings India Ltd. – ‘FieldFresh Foods Pvt. Ltd’ - for global distribution of fresh fruits and vegetables. Bharti has a joint venture - Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company Ltd. - with AXA, world leader in financial protection and wealth management. Bharti also has a joint venture for an asset management company - Bharti AXA Investment Managers Private Ltd. - with AXA IM and AXA APH. Bharti has recently forayed into retail business under a company called Bharti Retail Pvt. Ltd. It also has a joint venture - Bharti Wal-Mart Private Ltd.- with Wal-Mart for wholesale cash-and-carry and back-end supply chain management operations in India.

Del Monte Pacific Limited

Listed on the Mainboard of the Singapore Exchange, Del Monte Pacific Limited (Bloomberg: DELM SP/ Reuters: DMPL.SI) is a group of companies engaged in the production, marketing and distribution of premium-branded food and beverage products. The Group owns the Del Monte brand in the Philippines, where it enjoys leading market shares for pineapple juice, juice drinks, processed pineapple, tropical mixed fruits, tomato sauce, spaghetti sauce and tomato ketchup, and also markets products under its second-tier brand, Today’s. Del Monte Pacific also holds the exclusive rights to produce and distribute food and beverage products under the Del Monte brand in the Indian sub-continent. The Group owns Del Monte Foods India Private Limited which is engaged in the manufacture, distribution and sales of processed fruit and vegetable products. Del Monte Pacific also owns 100% of Abpak Company Ltd which holds 100% of Great Lakes. Great Lakes is a premium fruit juice producer in China, which sells juices under the Great Lakes, Ming Lang, Huanyan, Rougemont and Welch’s brands. Operating one of the world’s largest fully integrated pineapple operations, the Group is the global low-cost producer of pineapple and has long-term supply agreements with Del Monte trademark owners and licensees around the world. Del Monte Pacific and its subsidiaries are not affiliates of Del Monte Corporation and its parent, Del Monte Foods Company, or Fresh Del Monte Produce, Inc. and its subsidiaries, or Kikkoman Corporation and its subsidiaries, including Del Monte Asia Pte. Ltd., or Del Monte Foods International Limited and its subsidiaries. Del Monte Pacific is 80%-owned by NutriAsia Pacific Ltd. (NPL). NPL is owned by the NutriAsia Group of Companies which is in turn majority-owned by the Campos family of the Philippines. The NutriAsia Group is the market leader in the liquid condiments, specialty sauces and cooking oil market in the Philippines. Its flagship brand, UFC, has an 85% market share in the local catsup and hot chili sauce categories.