Total Produce dividend unchanged

IRISH fruit and vegetable distributor Total Produce has kept its half-year dividend for shareholders unchanged at 54c per share, despite seeing pre-tax profits fall by 2.3% to €24.3 million for the first six months of 2009.

That profit dip was joined by a 4.7% year-on-year drop in earnings before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA) to €26.3m and a 0.7% decline in first half adjusted earnings per share to 4.06c. Basic earnings per share amounted to 3.42c, down by 5.3% on the same period last year.

Group revenue, however, was boosted by the contribution from bolt-on acquisitions and joint-ventures and rose by 1.2% to just over €1.31 billion.

Last year Total bought controlling interests in two Dutch-based companies and increased its stake, to 15%, in South Africa’s Capespan Group.

The slight decline in first half earnings per share also led the group’s management to keep its guidance for full year earnings of between 5.5c and 6.5c.

“These results are in line with expectations and consistent with the group’s previously announced target earnings. The constant focus on costs has enabled the group to overcome the tougher economic climate in various markets and to successfully meet its targets,” said chairman Carl McCann.

Total said it is “actively seeking appropriate acquisitions that will add value to the business, and will report any developments in due course”.

The group said: “we have no specific plans to implement any significant changes in employee numbers”.


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