Total Produce pre-tax profits up 2.3%

Fruit distribution company Total Produce has marginally increased its 2012 earnings per share guidance, on the back of a strong set of figures for last year.

The Dublin-based firm — which is the former general produce arm of Fyffes — yesterday reported a 2.3% increase in 2011 pre-tax profits, to €34.4m and a 5.8% rise in adjusted earnings per share to 7.24c.

Management has also proposed a final dividend of 1.35c per share, which boosts the total dividend for 2011 by 6% to 1.89c.

Operating profit, after exceptional items, amounted to €39.1m, an increase of 5.6% on 2010.

However, adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell by over 4% to €59.7m, and group revenue was down by nearly 3%, at €2.53bn. Net debt was also up, from €47.9m to €75.6m.

Nonetheless, chairman, Carl McCann, heralded the 2011 showing as “a solid performance”, given a number of challenges in various markets, including last year’s e-coli scare in mainland Europe.

“The group has performed satisfactorily, despite challenging conditions in certain markets.”

Mr McCann said that the group is now targeting adjusted earnings per share, for 2012, of between 7c and 8c; up from its previous guidance within the 6.5c-to-7.5c range.

The marginal increase in outlook is based on the group’s “good geographic spread of activities across Europe” and the full-year impact of a combined €20m worth of acquisitions it made during the second half of 2011.

Revenue in the overall fresh produce division — which stretches across Britain, Scandinavia and much of the eurozone — was down 3.6%, last year, while Total’s consumer goods and health foods distribution arm saw sales rise by 21% to €99m.

The company, earlier this week, also received regulatory approval for its €15m 50% acquisition of Dutch produce company, Frankort & Koning. That deal will up the company’s presence in Holland, Germany and Poland.


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