News Column

Total Produce Maintains Full-Year Guidance; Ups Interim Dividend

September 2, 2014

Alice Attwood

LONDON (Alliance News) -Total Produce PLC said Tuesday that it has retained its guidance for the full-year as its reported higher pretax profit and volumes for the first-half, despite lower average prices hitting revenue, leading the company to up its interim dividend.

In its half-year results for the six months to June 30, the fresh produce provider said pretax profit was 5.7% higher than the comparative period at EUR24.2 million from EUR22.9 million.

Revenue was down 4.5% in the first-half to EUR1.59 billion from EUR1.66 billion the previous year, hit by decreasing average prices, despite the company reporting higher volumes for the period. Greater production and excess supply in some key produce lines also led to downward pressure on prices in the period, said the company.

Total Produce upped its interim dividend by 5% to EUR0.64 cents from the EUR0.6095 cents paid last year.

The company said it was encouraged by its "robust" first-half performance as measured against a particularly strong 2013 comparative period which included the results of Capespan Group Ltd prior to its divestment on in April 2013 and the adverse translation impact of currency in the period.

On a divisional basis, the company said the first-half performance of it's core business, Fresh Produce, was satisfactory against the strong comparative and currency translation hit, with revenue of EUR1.53 billion, down 2% on EUR1.61 billion last year, with some volume growth offset by average price decreases, said Total Produce.

The warmer weather in spring caused the domestic growing season to begin earlier leading to greater production and over supply resulting in downward pressure on prices particularly in some produce categories, added the company.

In the Healthfoods & Consumer Products Distribution Division - its full service marketing and distribution partners - revenue increased by 6.3% to EUR60 million from EUR56 million last year, due to the contribution of new business.

The group said its growth will continue to be driven by successful acquisitions. Total Produce has recently agreed to acquire the final 50% of All Seasons Fruit in The Netherlands and continues its expansion in North America with the acquisition of a 45% interest in Eco Farms in California, USA.

Looking ahead, the company has retained its full-year adjusted earnings per share guidance of EUR8.40 to EUR9.40 cents per share.

Shares in Total Produce were Tuesday morning trading up 0.8% at EUR1.01 cents per share.

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Source: Alliance News

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