Fresh Del Monte Produce Inc., one of the largest producers and marketers of fresh and packaged fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in the world, generated a net income of US$67.1m for the Q1 ended 29 March 2002, up from US$41.1m year on year.

Improved pricing across the product mix and the company’s ongoing efforts to trim costs, improve operating efficiencies and debt reductions drove these positive results, Del Monte said in a statement.

Net sales in Q1 2002 rose to US$537.4m, as a result of increased pineapple volumes together with higher banana, pineapple, non-tropical fruit and fresh-cut pricing. Operating income for Q1 2002 rose to US$78m, compared with US$60.2m year on year. This increase was generated by improved pricing and lower sea transportation costs.

Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh, chairman and CEO, said: “The Q1 results are a testament to the success of our focus on our core business. We believe this performance further substantiates the value of our strategy to create a diversified product line. With our solid foundation in place, we will continue our quest for quality growth as we increase market share, strengthen our relationships with our customers, invest in our core business, expand our product line and grow our global logistics network with a continued focus on reducing operating costs and debt.”