Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. (NYSE:FDP) today announced that it secured a sweeping jury verdict in a lawsuit against Del Monte Foods Company and Del Monte Corporation (‘Del Monte Foods’) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
After a two-week trial, on April 6, 2012, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in Fresh Del Monte’s favor, finding that Fresh Del Monte has the exclusive right under the parties’ licensing agreement to use the Del Monte ® trademark on certain refrigerated preserved fruit products. Additionally, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in Fresh Del Monte’s favor on five out of the six Lanham Act false advertising claims, finding that Del Monte Foods’ sale and marketing of refrigerated preserved fruit products misled consumers into believing the products were fresh fruit, and that Del Monte Foods willfully violated the Lanham Act. The jury awarded separate damages to Fresh Del Monte totaling $13.15 million for both claims, including the profits Del Monte Foods obtained from its false advertising.
About Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.
Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc. is one of the world’s leading vertically integrated producers, marketers and distributors of high-quality fresh and fresh-cut fruit and vegetables, as well as a leading producer and distributor of prepared food in Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the countries formerly part of the Soviet Union. Fresh Del Monte markets its products worldwide under the Del Monte ® brand, a symbol of product innovation, quality, freshness and reliability for more than 100 years.Forward-looking Information This press release contains certain forward-looking statements regarding the intent, beliefs or current expectations of the Company or its officers with respect to the Company’s plans and future performance. 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. In this press release, these statements appear in a number of places and include statements regarding the intent, belief or current expectations of the Company or its officers (including statements preceded by, followed by or that include the words “believes,” “expects,” “anticipates” or similar expressions). The Company’s plans and performance may differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements as a result of various factors, including (i) the uncertain global economic environment and the timing and strength of a recovery in the markets the Company serves, and the extent to which adverse economic conditions continue to affect its sales volume and results, including the Company’s ability to command premium prices for certain of its principal products, or increase competitive pressures within the industry, (ii) the impact of governmental initiatives in the United States and abroad to spur economic activity, including the effects of significant government monetary or other market interventions on inflation, price controls and foreign exchange rates, (iii) the impact of governmental trade restrictions, including adverse governmental regulation that may impact the Company’s ability to access certain markets, (iv) the Company’s anticipated cash needs in light of its liquidity, (v) the continued ability of the Company’s distributors and suppliers to have access to sufficient liquidity to fund their operations, (vi) trends and other factors affecting the Company’s financial condition or results of operations from period to period, including changes in product mix or consumer demand for branded products such as its, particularly as consumers remain price-conscious in the current economic environment; anticipated price and expense levels; the impact of crop disease, severe weather conditions, such as flooding, or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, on crop quality and yields and on its ability to grow, procure or export its products; the impact of prices for petroleum-based products and packaging materials; and the availability of sufficient labor during peak growing and harvesting seasons, (vii) the impact of pricing and other actions by the Company’s competitors, particularly during periods of low consumer confidence and spending levels, (viii) the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, (ix) the Company’s plans for expansion of its business (including through acquisitions) and cost savings, (x) the Company’s ability to successfully integrate acquisitions into its operations, (xi) the impact of impairment or other charges associated with exit activities, crop or facility damage or otherwise, (xii) the timing and cost of resolution of pending legal and environmental proceedings, (xiii) the impact of changes in tax accounting or tax laws (or interpretations thereof), and the impact of settlements of adjustments proposed by the Internal Revenue Service or other taxing authorities in connection with the Company’s tax audits, and (xiv) the cost and other implications of changes in regulations applicable to its business, including potential legislative or regulatory initiatives in the United States or elsewhere directed at mitigating the effects of climate change. All forward-looking statements in this report are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. The Company’s plans and performance may also be affected by the factors described in Item 1A. – “Risk Factors” in Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc.’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 30, 2011 along with other reports that the Company has on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.