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Fresh Del Monte Produce Delivers Record First Quarter Performance; Earnings Per Share, Net Sales and Net Income Continue to Increase

04.29.03

CORAL GABLES, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 29, 2003--Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE:FDP), one of the world's largest producers and marketers of fresh produce, today announced record financial results for the three months ended March 28, 2003.

The Company reported earnings per share (EPS) of $1.55 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2003, compared with $1.10 per diluted share in the first quarter of 2002. The 2003 first quarter earnings per diluted share included a $0.20 per share gain from insurance recoveries related to Hurricane Mitch in 1998. The 2002 earnings per diluted share included an $0.11 per share charge due to the change in accounting principle as a result of the adoption of SFAS 142. Net income for the 2003 first quarter was $88.1 million, compared with $61.0 million in the first quarter of 2002.

Net sales for the first quarter of 2003 rose to $643.8 million, compared with $537.4 million in the same period last year. This 20 percent net sales increase was driven by an expansion of the Company's distribution channels, contributions from recent acquisitions, favorable foreign exchange and strong banana sales in Europe and North America.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2003 was $107.0 million, versus gross profit of $106.6 million in the first quarter of 2002. The gross profit stability is a direct result of increased sales volumes in banana, pineapple, fresh-cut, grape and non-tropical products, combined with improved banana pricing in Europe and North America. The Company also benefited from favorable foreign exchange on sales. Offsetting these gains were higher sea transportation, energy and operating costs.

"Our first quarter results demonstrate that we continue to experience a steady forward momentum throughout our business in spite of a challenging economic and geopolitical environment," said Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "We attribute our successful first quarter to a sharp and unwavering focus on expanding our product line, growing our distribution channels and capabilities and driving synergies from our recent strategic acquisitions. Our business is running smoothly, and we expect the Company's strong performance to continue throughout 2003."

Fresh Del Monte is a leading vertically integrated producer and marketer of high quality fresh and fresh-cut produce. The Company's primary products include bananas, pineapples, melons, tomatoes, potatoes, onions, grapes, citrus, apples, pears, peaches, plums and plantains. 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 27, 2002.

Fresh Del Monte will host a conference call and simultaneous webcast at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time today to discuss the first quarter results. The live webcast can be accessed on the Company's Investor Relations home page at http://www.freshdelmonte.com. The call will begin promptly at 11:00 a.m. and will be available for replay on the Company's web site approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call.

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

 Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. and Subsidiaries
                    Condensed Statements of Income
      (U.S. dollars in millions, except share and per share data)

                                                    Quarter ended
                                               -----------------------
                                                March 28,   March 29,
                                                  2003        2002
                                               ----------- -----------
                                                      Unaudited

Net sales                                          $643.8      $537.4
Cost of products sold                               536.8       430.8
                                               ----------- -----------
 Gross profit                                       107.0       106.6

Selling, general and administrative expenses         25.2        23.9
Asset impairment charge                                 -         4.7
                                               ----------- -----------
 Operating income                                    81.8        78.0

Interest expense, net                                 2.6         4.4
Other, net(1)                                        14.6        (0.3)
                                               ----------- -----------
Earnings before income taxes and cumulative
 effect of change in accounting principle            93.8        73.3
Income taxes                                          5.7         6.2
                                               ----------- -----------
Earnings before cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle                                88.1        67.1
Cumulative effect of change in accounting
 principle-SFAS No. 142                                 -        (6.1)
                                               ----------- -----------
Net income                                          $88.1       $61.0
                                               =========== ===========

Net income per share - Basic:
Income before cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle                              $ 1.57 $ 1.24
Cumulative effect of change in accounting
 principle                                              -       (0.12)
                                               ----------- -----------
Net income per share - Basic                        $1.57 $1.12
                                               =========== ===========

Net income per share - Diluted:
Income before cumulative effect of change in
 accounting principle                              $ 1.55 $ 1.21
Cumulative effect of change in accounting
 principle                                              -       (0.11)
                                               ----------- -----------
Net income per share - Diluted                      $1.55 $1.10
                                               =========== ===========
Weighted average number of ordinary shares
 outstanding
   Basic                                       56,215,957  54,223,085
   Diluted                                     56,995,384  55,392,568


                                                       Quarter ended
                                                       March 28, 2003
                                                      ----------------
Selected Income Statement Data:                          Unaudited
   Depreciation and amortization                        $   14.9
   Hurricane Mitch insurance proceeds(1)                    11.5

                                                       March 28, 2003
                                                      ----------------
Selected Balance Sheet Data:                             Unaudited
   Working capital                                      $  180.0
   Total assets                                          1,467.0
   Short-term debt                                          20.7
   Long-term debt                                          145.6
   Shareholders' equity                                    839.1


(1) Other, net for the quarter ended March 28, 2003 includes business
    interruption insurance recoveries related to Hurricane Mitch,
    which damaged Fresh Del Monte's Guatemalan banana operations in
    1998, of $11.5 million, or $0.20 per basic and diluted share.

CONTACT: Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., Coral Gables
John F. Inserra, 305/520-8065
or
Christine Cannella, 305/520-8451

SOURCE: Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.

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