DEL MONTE REBUTS RUMORS, WON'T LEAVE FLA. PORT

DEL MONTE REBUTS RUMORS, WON'T LEAVE FLA. PORT

Del Monte Tropical Fruit Co. is planning to transfer about a half-dozen members of its sales staff from Port Manatee to other company sales offices - but it is not moving its operations from the port.

"People start rumors on whims," said Manager Tim Albano, referring to the fears of some workers that Del Monte would leave the port altogether. "I don't know where (the story of a move) came from, but I'm here to tell you it's not true."The transfers have "nothing to do with cargo moving in and out of the port," said David McDonald, port director. Del Monte relocated sales people

from Atlanta to Port Manatee a few years ago.

The sales staff members don't need to be at a port to sell bananas to wholesale distributors, he said. The workers will likely be reassigned to Dallas, Houston or New Orleans.

Mr. McDonald said he expects no negative effect on the port, and said the move could increase Del Monte's sales.