Monday 22 January 2018

Fruit group eyes fresh targets after being peeled off Chiquita

Banana prices will rise as the euro falls against dollar, Fyffes warned yesterday
Banana prices will rise as the euro falls against dollar, Fyffes warned yesterday
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Fyffes wants to drive up prices and buy rivals as its margins are squeezed by a sharp fall in the euro against the dollar and sterling, the company said yesterday.

Analysts said Fyffes will target acquisitions this year of up to €200m after a plannned merger with rival Chiquita was aborted last year.

Yesterday, Dublin headquartered fruit distributor Fyffes reported a 26.6pc hike in earnings per share for 2014 on revenues that were up less than 1pc to €1.1bn, but warned that currency swings are putting pressure on prices.

"Fyffes is pursuing necessary increases in selling prices in all markets in response to the significant strengthening of the US dollar against the euro and sterling in recent months," chairman David McCann said.

Having missed out on last year's planned merger, his company is "actively pursuing a promising number of attractive acquisition opportunities", he said.

Analyst Patrick Higgins of Goodbody Stockbrokers said a deal on the scale of the near $1bn (€789m) merger planned with Chiquita is not on the cards.

"Fyffes will look to step up M&A and I think the priority will be to build up in their core north east Europe region," Mr Higgins said.

"The company has indicated it is comfortable with leverage so it could be looking at deals of up to €200m," he added.

Fyffes ended the year with net debt of €11.7m and is targeting adjusted EBITA for 2015 in the range €36-42m, compared to €40.1m in 2014.

The bulk of an €18m "break fee" Chiquita paid for failing to close the planned merger was used to cover M&A fees.

Irish Independent

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