Acquisitions lift Total Produce revenue in 2013

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Acquisitions lift Total Produce revenue in 2013

Despite divesting its stake in Capespan South Africa, European powerhouse Total Produce Plc (ISEQ: TOT.L) was able to substantially increase its revenue last year with the help of improved trading conditions on the continent and its acquisition of North American company Oppy. A preliminary results announcement showed profits were up too but grew at a slower rate than sales, while the board has projected a similar earnings per share in 2014.

The completed purchase of a 35% share in Oppy in January made up close to half the company's €23 million (US$31.66 million) worth of investments over 2013, and this acquisition along with others helped push total revenue up by 13% to reach €3.2 billion (US$4.4 billion). mixed fruit and vegetables shutterstock 1

This rise represents a significant margin on like-for-like revenue growth of 8%, which excludes acquisitions, divestments and currency translation.

In fact, exchange rates were not in Total Produce's favor last year, contributing to a fall in revenue for its U.K. division and reducing profit on the Capespan sale significantly. However, these currency issues were a blip on an otherwise very successful year with a 6.7% increase in adjusted EBITDA to €74.1 million (US$102 million).

"The Group’s growth is primarily driven by successful acquisitions completed in recent years including the investment in Oppenheimer in North America," said chairman Carl McCann.

Profit jumped 9.2% to €22.96 million (US$31.6 million) in the eurozone, which was attributed to acquisitions completed in 2012 and better trading in some continental European locations. While this region had the highest sales, the fresh produce segment in Northern Europe had a slightly larger profit at €23.4 million (US$32.21 million).

Even though the U.K. fresh produce division was impacted by currency challenges, its EBITA actually spiked by 29.3% to €6.6 million (US$9.08 million).

"The [U.K.] results reflect a strong second half of the year particularly in the wholesale sector after a relatively poor start to the year due to a late spring which impacted the first half results," Total Produce said in the announcement.

Elsewhere in the U.K., along with Ireland, the company's healthfoods and consumer products division registered a 10.8% rise in revenue, although lower margins due to changes in the product mix led to a 13% drop in profit.

The international fresh produce division recorded a 24.6% rise in EBITA to reach €3.1 million (US$4.27 million).

Other acquisitions and outlook

During the year, Total Produce said bolt-on acquisitions were also made to existing businesses, while in December the group upped its stake in U.K.-oriented African exotic vegetable supplier Provenance Partners Limited to 50%. However, as the latter took place so late in the year, it did not have a material impact on results.

After the year was finished, Total Produce completed an agreement to acquire a second 50% holding in Netherlands-based All Seasons Fruit (ASF) in three stages.

"An initial 20% shareholding will be acquired on completion with the balance to be acquired in subsequent years. ASF specialises in the soft fruit category," the announcement said.

"The Group continues to actively pursue further investment opportunities in both new and existing markets."

Compared to its adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of €0.087 (US$0.12) per share in 2013, Total Produce has targeted an adjusted EPS of €0.084-0.094 (US$0.116-0.129) per share in 2014.









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