Cabal buys rest of Del Monte

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The Independent Online
CARLOS Cabal Peniche, the Mexican banana baron who bought Del Monte Fresh Produce from beleaguered Polly Peck two years ago, has acquired the firm's sister company, Del Monte Foods, and plans to re-merge the two.

Grupo Cabal will pay dollars 277m ( pounds 185m) for the San Francisco- based canned-foods company. Mr Cabal will also assume some dollars 700m in junk-bond debt left over from the dollars 1.4bn management buyout of the company in 1990, shortly after the sale of the pineapple and banana division to Asil Nadir, then chief executive of Polly Peck, for dollars 875m.

Polly Peck was shortly afterwards placed in the hands of administrators, who sold the division two years later for dollars 536m to Mr Cabal.

An earlier attempt to merge the companies fell through in April because of questions about the fresh- fruit division. But a spokesman said an equity infusion by Mr Cabal had satisfied auditors, and his bankers are also confident the dollars 700m junk- bond can be refinanced.

Under the original deal, Grupo Cabal was to pay dollars 325m for the company. Instead Mr Cabal has pledged to invest an additional dollars 50m in the merged company.

Grupo Cabal also takes control of the Del Monte brand name.