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Total Produce's sales and profits rise

TOTAL Produce raised its earnings guidance for the year after strong demand in Northern Europe boosted sales and profits in the first half.

The fruit company, which was spun off from Fyffes, said that sales rose 5pc to €1.4bn, while adjusted pre-tax profit increased 6.2pc to €25.1m. The company raised its first-half dividend 5pc to almost 0.6 cent a share.

Total saw profits rise as it spent €20m buying a 50pc stake in Dutch fruit company Frankort & Koning and boosted its shareholding in South African company Capespan to 25.3pc. Total's northern Europe division was the best performing unit, with profits soaring 20pc to €10.8m. Sales in some parts of the eurozone declined.

"Total Produce has delivered a strong performance for the first half of 2012," said chairman Carl McCann.

"We continue to actively pursue further investment opportunities," he added.

Mr McCann said the company was increasing full-year earnings per share target towards the upper end of the range, between 7 cent and 8 cent a share. Net debt at 30 June 2012 was €94.6m compared to €75.6m at the end of last year.

Irish Independent