Belfast Telegraph

Fyffes half-year profits down 28%

A banana glut and rising costs have cut first-half profits of tropical fruits distributor Fyffes by almost a third.

The Dublin-based company said excess market supply, higher fuel costs and a stronger US dollar created difficult conditions, which left pre-tax profits down 28% at 13.3 million euro in the six months to June.

The group said trading conditions had normalised during the summer months and that it will be increasing its prices across all markets.

Fyffes, whose revenues were broadly flat at 402.6 million euros, said conditions were tough in its pineapple division for "broadly similar" reasons, with results flat year-on-year.

But a clampdown on costs drove an improved performance from its melon business, prompting Fyffes to hold its interim dividend steady as well as full-year guidance for underlying earnings of between 14 million and 18 million euros.

The firm began trading in the 1880s when the first commercial delivery of bananas from the Canary Islands arrived in London for E.W. Fyffe Son & Co.

The world's oldest fruit brand came into being in 1929 with the famous blue label and its bananas are sourced in the Tropics from countries such as Costa Rica, Guatemala and Colombia.

Fyffes is best known for its fruit business but also retains a 40% stake in property business Blackrock International, which it spun off in 2006.

The group has UK bases in Wakefield, Coventry, Portsmouth and Basingstoke, as well as a Scottish site in Livingston, West Lothian.

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