Total has appetite for investment

Fruit distribution company Total Produce has said it will continue to pursue investment opportunities in 2013 on the back of a better-than-expected year which saw it sign off on €24m worth of acquisitions.

The Dublin-based company, the former general produce arm of Fyffes, which reports its figures later this week, yesterday produced a set of annual results of 2012 comfortably ahead of market expectations, with net revenues (including shares of joint ventures and associate businesses) up by over 11% to €2.8bn and up by 6.5% to €2.43bn without the additional business strands.

Adjusted pre-tax profits rose by over 19% to €47.3m, and adjusted earnings per share up 12% to 8.11c.

Net debt fell to €53m from €75.6m, despite a number of large acquisitions and investments during the year, and a final recommended dividend of just over 1.5c has boosted the year’s total dividend to just shy of 2.1c, up by 10% on the previous year.

While some investments boosted the figures, Goodbody Stockbrokers had anticipated Total Produce reporting group sales of €2.33bn and earnings per share growth of 4% less than actually transpired.

On top of being “very pleased” with the 2012 performance, chairman Carl McCann said Total’s trading conditions since the start of this year have been “satisfactory”.

Management has guided for earnings per share of between 8c and 8.8c for 2013. This is largely in line with previous guidance, and tallies with current analyst forecasts. Goodbody forecast an 2013eps of 8.4c, although it said yesterday it has scope to up that outlook, and Davy anticipated an 8c showing.

Since the turn of the year, Total Produce has completed the first part of its estimated €32m acquisition of 65% of Canadian fruit company Oppenheimer.

Total Produce’s share price rose by over 3.5% yesterday to 61c.


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