18 May 1999
Del Monte in Thai move

DEL MONTE Royal Foods, the South African-based fruit and vegetable company, said yesterday it had acquired a majority stake in Thai fruit canner Siam Agro Industry Pineapple (Saico).

The deal includes an agreement with Thai Farmers Bank. It will mean the bank takes ownership of plantation land owned by Saico and leases it back to the now foreign-owned company for a nominal fee.

Del Monte has an option to buy back the land from Thai Farmers after five years.

The deal over agricultural land could be a significant pointer to future foreign investment. Land ownership by foreigners in Thailand is strictly controlled and banned for agricultural purposes.

Del Monte has applied to Thailands Board of Investment for a waiver on the land ownership prohibition which it looks like getting.

The group is looking for further expansion in Asia.

  • Financial Times 18/05/99 page 31