Total Produce goes Dutch with 50% stake

FRUIT and vegetable distributor Total Produce has made further inroads into the Dutch market byacquiring a 50% stake in local company ASF Holland for an undisclosed sum.

A soft fruit distributor based in the south-eastern city of Venlo, on the Dutch-German border, ASF Holland is on course for sales of e25 million this year. Although reticent over how much it has paid for the stake, market analysts are suggesting it cost the former Fyffes subsidiary around e1m, with a minimal impact on earnings for Total Produce’s current financial year expected.

ASF will be bolted onto Total Produce’s subsidiary, Redbridge Holdings (the Peterborough-based soft fruit company it bought two years ago) which has a presence in the same part of the world.

While noting that the Dutch company’s annual sales are small relative to Total’s overall group turnover of e2.5 billion, Bloxham Stockbrokers said in a research note yesterday, that the Dublin firm is finding businesses amid the recession.

“Over the past three years, the company has avoided a number of deals as multiples were fuelled by leveraged deals. It is now finding more realistic valuations from vendors,” it added.

Total Produce entered the Dutch market last summer, when it spent e9.5m buying 60% of two companies — Haluco and Nedalpac.

The company also said it remained on course to reach its target of doubling its turnover over the next five years.


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