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Merrill Keeps 'Buy' on Fresh Del Monte


Merrill Lynch keeps its buy rating on Fresh Del Monte (FDP).

A Wall Street Journal article cited competition in the pineapple-growing business. Analyst Leonard Teitelbaum says the article says that competitors to Fresh Del Monte are introducing their own version of Gold pineapples, which is not new news. Teitelbaum notes trade checks indicate the competitors' products are not consistent in quality.

He says there's no question that competition was, and is, inevitable, but he thinks there still has to be retailer acceptance of what is reputed to be an inconsistent product representation. Teitelbaum repeats the emphasis that his buy rating reflects a move into Fresh Cut operations; this will be a catalyst for growth of Fresh Del Monte. He is keeping his $32 target.


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