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Fresh Del Monte Produce Announces Record Results for 2002 Fourth Quarter and Full Year

02.11.03
CORAL GABLES, Fla., Feb 11, 2003 (BUSINESS WIRE) --

Growth Driven by the Company's Diversified Product Line and
                Successful Cost-Saving Strategies
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE:FDP) one of the world's largest producers and marketers of fresh fruit, vegetables and other produce, today reported strong financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 27, 2002. For the quarter, the Company reported net income of $35.2 million, or $0.62 per diluted share, compared with $5.3 million, or $0.10 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2001. Included in fourth quarter 2002 net income is a $0.07 per-share gain, net of taxes, on the sale of the Company's interest in its Northern European distributor. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2002 were $487.4 million, compared with $422.0 million for the same period last year. The 15 percent increase in net sales was a result of the Company's growth across all product lines.

The Company's net income on a full-year basis was $195.2 million, or $3.45 per diluted share, compared with $96.2 million, or $1.77 per diluted share, in the prior year. Net sales for the year increased to $2.1 billion from $1.9 billion in 2001. The improvement in net income and net sales was attributed to the Company's diversified product line and its commitment to continuous cost improvements throughout its global operations.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2002 rose to $65.2 million, versus gross profit of $51.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2001, driven by increased volume and pricing across all product categories and continued cost-saving initiatives. Gross profit for the year was $336.7 million, compared with gross profit of $282.9 million in the same period last year. Stronger pricing and increased volume across all produce segments drove the Company's gross profit for the year.

Operating income for the fourth quarter of 2002 was $33.8 million, compared with $22.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2001. Operating income for the year ended December 27, 2002 was $214.4 million, versus $164.9 million in the previous year.

"We're proud that Fresh Del Monte delivered record performance in 2002," said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Fresh Del Monte. "In addition to achieving outstanding sales, our management team and employees controlled costs effectively, allowing us to maintain one of the strongest balance sheets in our industry. We continue to raise the bar on our performance, and we look forward to executing our growth initiatives in 2003."

Fresh Del Monte will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 11:00 A.M. (EST) today to discuss the fourth quarter and year-end results and to discuss the Company's progress and outlook. The dial-in numbers are 888-857-6929 U.S. and 719-457-2600 International and the pass code is 540936. The webcast can be accessed on the Company's Investor Relations' home page at http://www.freshdelmonte.com . The call will be available for re-broadcast on the Company's website. A telephonic replay of the conference call will be available until February 13, 2003, at 888-203-1112, access code 540936.

Fresh Del Monte is a leading vertically integrated producer and marketer of high quality fresh and packaged fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. The Company's products include bananas, pineapples, cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelons, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, grapes, non-tropical fruit (including citrus, apples, pears, peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots and kiwi), plantains, Vidalia(R) sweet onions and various greens. The Company markets its products worldwide under the DEL MONTE(R) brand, a symbol of product quality and reliability since 1892.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the intents, beliefs or current expectations of the Company or its officers with respect to various matters. These forward-looking statements are based on information currently available to the Company and the Company assumes no obligation to update these statements. It is important to note that these forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks and uncertainties. The Company's actual results may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including those described under the caption "Key Information - Risk Factors" in Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.'s Form 20-F for the year ended December 28, 2001.

Note to the Editor: This release and other press releases are available on the Company's web site, http://www.freshdelmonte.com.

          Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. and Subsidiaries
                  Condensed Statements of Income
         (U.S. dollars in millions, except per share data)
                      Quarter ended                 Year ended
                December 27,  December 28,  December 27,  December 28,
                    2002          2001         2002          2001
                    ----          ----         ----          ----
                        Unaudited
Net sales          $487.4        $422.0      $2,090.5      $1,928.0
Cost of products
 sold               422.2         370.4       1,753.8       1,645.1
                   ------        ------      --------      --------
 Gross profit        65.2          51.6         336.7         282.9
Selling, general and
 administrative
 expenses            29.0          25.2         102.7          89.4
Amortization of
 goodwill               -           0.8             -           3.4
Provision for Kunia
 Well Site              -             -           7.0          15.0
Asset impairment
 charge               2.4           3.0          12.6          10.2
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
 Operating income    33.8          22.6         214.4         164.9
Interest expense,
 net                  3.8           4.7          15.0          30.0
Other, net           11.5          (5.2)         20.5         (12.2)
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
Earnings before
 income taxes and
 cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle           41.5          12.7         219.9         122.7
Income taxes          6.3           7.4          18.6          26.5
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
Earnings before
 cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle           35.2           5.3         201.3          96.2
Cumulative effect of
 change in
 accounting
 principle-SFAS
 No. 142 (1)            -             -          (6.1)            -
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
Net income          $35.2          $5.3        $195.2         $96.2
                   ======        ======        ======        ======
Net income per share - Basic:
Income before
 cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle         $ 0.63        $ 0.10        $ 3.63        $ 1.79
Cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle              -             -         (0.11)            -
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
Net income per
 share - Basic      $0.63         $0.10         $3.52         $1.79
                   ======        ======        ======        ======
Net income per share - Diluted:
Income before
 cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle         $ 0.62        $ 0.10        $ 3.56        $ 1.77
Cumulative effect
 of change in
 accounting
 principle              -             -         (0.11)            -
                   ------        ------        ------        ------
Net income per
 share - Diluted   $0.62          $0.10         $3.45         $1.77
                   ======        ======        ======        ======
Weighted average
 number of
 ordinary shares
 outstanding:
      Basic   56,165,424     54,024,006    55,445,106    53,856,392
      Diluted 57,188,716     55,005,472    56,538,659    54,414,868
                                       As of
                                       -----
                     December 27, 2002       December 28, 2001
                     -----------------       -----------------
Selected Balance Sheet Data:
      Working capital      $103.4                  $131.9
      Total assets        1,262.8                 1,196.9
      Notes payable and
       short-term debt       40.0                    51.1
      Long-term debt         47.3                   282.2
      Shareholders' equity  760.7                   550.5
(1) SFAS No. 142 - Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No.
142, Goodwill and Other Intangible Assets.
CONTACT:          Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Coral Gables
                  John F. Inserra, 305/520-8065   
                  Christine Cannella, 305/520-8451 (Investor Relations)

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