Agility pleaded not guilty to charges that it defrauded the US government when the case came to court in Atlanta, Georgia earlier this week.
The Kuwait-based company, which is charged under the name the Public Warehousing Co, said in a statement following the arraignment hearing: “Agility welcomes the opportunity to clear its name by having an impartial jury examine its work supplying food to US forces in Iraq and Kuwait.
“From 2003 to 2010, Agility operated under the most dangerous conditions to provide American troops with plentiful, high-quality food. No military has ever been as well fed in a time of conflict.
“Agility was open, transparent and accountable to the US government, which approved its prices, suppliers and business practices for seven years – and continued to approve them even after the company was indicted. Agility received some of the highest US government audit scores ever given to a contractor. By key industry benchmarks, Agility outperformed companies that work in the US domestic food-service industry.
“Agility delivered unparalleled value for American taxpayers. It eliminated the need for an additional 3,000 to 5,000 uniformed troops in theatre. It built a supply chain that extended 1,000 miles through a war zone, assuming all risk for inventory, infrastructure and equipment, and absorbing millions in losses for damaged vehicles and lost cargo. Thirty-three Agility employees were killed and 262 wounded in performance of their jobs.”
“In bringing this case, the US Department of Justice has criminalised what is, at most, a civil contract dispute. Agility, as it has stated for nearly two years, remains open to a resolution of the case, but its focus is now on bringing the facts to light before a jury,” it said.
* Agility said second quarter operating profit fell 51 per cent to 10m KD (£22.3m) against the same period in 2010 as the result of lost defence and government business. Sales were down 23 per cent to 331m KD (£738m).
However, commercial logistics revenue (Global Integrated Logistics excluding US government contracts) showed a two per cent year-over-year gain and experienced its second consecutive quarter of growth.
Tarek Sultan, Agility’s chairman and managing director said: “Our efforts to align our cost structure with the current business environment, streamline the organisation and refocus on commercial logistics are paying off.
“We made hard choices last year and established a new financial baseline to start 2011. Our commercial logistics gains, combined with our drive to boost return on assets, manage cash conservatively and squeeze out additional cost are moving the company beyond lost government business into a new growth era.”