Rich pickings at Total Produce as earnings rise to €37.1m in 2012
SHARES in Total Produce rose yesterday, after the fruit importer said pretax profits rose sharply in 2012.
For the year to the end of December, Total said earnings jumped 7.9pc to €37.1m on revenues that climbed more than 11pc to €2.8bn.
The total dividend for the year has been increased to 2.079c.
Company chairman Carl McCann said the company was "very pleased" with its performance during the year, and things had gone well so far in 2013.
"Trading conditions since the start of 2013 have been satisfactory.
"The group's activities are well diversified across Europe and more recently in North America and Africa.
"(We) are targeting adjusted earnings per share for 2013 in the range of 8.0 to 8.8c.
"The group is pleased to report a 12pc increase in the final dividend which, together with the interim dividend, represents an overall increase of 10pc in the full year dividend. We continue to actively pursue further investment opportunities," he said.
According to the company, trading conditions improved across all of the company's divisions. Total produces fruit, vegetables and flowers, focused mainly on mainland Europe and the UK.
"The performance in the second half of 2012 was particularly good vis-a-vis 2011. The comparative period in 2011 was affected by more challenging trading conditions, particularly in Continental Europe due primarily to an E-Coli scare that year, which had a negative impact on the European fresh produce industry from late May 2011 onwards affecting both consumption and prices," it said.
Analysts were generally happy with the results. Goodbody's Liam Igoe was particularly pleased to see growth right across the company.
"Overall the results were 4pc ahead of expectations, with positive growth in all divisions. We expect positive growth in terms of both sales and EPS (earnings per share) as (acquisitions) become fully integrated and the synergies of the acquisition become apparent over the course of the year.
"There is scope for some upside to our current forecast though at this stage it would be modest as it is still early in the year. Given the strong results outcome and its relatively modest rating, the results statement is unlikely to change our overall stance on the stock," he said.
Goodbody currently has a "buy" recommendation on the stock. By the close in Dublin shares were up 1.4pc at 60c. The shares have risen more than a third in the last year.