Total Produce raises guidance

Total Produce has increased its full-year earnings guidance on the back of a good start to the year.

The Dublin-based international fruit distributor yesterday said it is now aiming for full-year adjusted earnings per share around the upper half of its previously announced range of between 9.20c-10.20c. Previously, management had guided for earnings of between 9.70c and 9.95c per share for this year.

“The increase of around 2.5% is due to a satisfactory first four months of trading. In spite of the ongoing Russian embargo of EU produce, the market has adjusted and certain categories have seen a recovery in pricing,” noted Declan Morrissey of Davy Stockbrokers.

“Total Produce’s operating model has proven resilient through this period of volatility in the produce market,” he added.

Patrick Higgins — of Goodbody Stockbrokers — said that the update “further illustrates the underlying robustness of the Total Produce business model, and that any impact on earnings from the Russian embargo on fresh produce has been minimal”. In a trading update, published yesterday to coincide with its AGM, Total Produce said that it remains in a “strong financial position” and continues to pursue “attractive acquisition opprotunities to further expand the group”. The company spend €22m on investments last year.

Management also told shareholders it will pay out the final dividend, for 2014, of 1.763c per share (6% up on the previous year) tomorrow. The board added that it will also buy back some of the company’s shares, as appropriate.

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