Irish fruit company Fyffes (FFY) has significantly increased its earnings targets for 2015 after securing a rise in selling prices of bananas and pineapples in response to currency headwinds.
The group said it demonstrated its “robust business model” and its ability to quickly adapt to prevailing market conditions.
Fyffes also had another strong performance in the recently ended US melon import season, it added.
It has revised EBITDA forecasts upward from the €44m to €50m range to between €55m and €61m. The range now includes an estimated depreciation charge of about €11m for 2015, compared with €8.1m in 2014, reflecting the significant level of capital expenditure in the previous year.
“Fyffes is confident about the future prospects of its business and is well placed to compete strongly in its key markets, following important strategic and operational developments in recent years,” the listed group told the London Stock Exchange. “The group also remains focused on achieving further efficiencies in its operations.”
The Fyffes trading update sent its share price soaring 10% in the early going to 94.7p.
Irish forecourt operator Applegreen has started trading on AIM in London and ESM in Dublin this morning with shares opening at €4.25 each. The group’s flotation valued it at €299.7m (£218.8m), with AXA Framlington and Fidelity Investments taking significant stakes. Applegreen also raised €91.7m (£66.9m) in a placing. CEO Bob Etchingham said: “Along with the rest of the management team I am delighted to announce the successful completion of our IPO and our first day of trading as a listed company. The funds raised will provide us with the platform to accelerate our growth across the markets in which we operate and further expand and rebrand our portfolio of sites.”
Sales in week 19 fell 2.1% at Waitrose to £126m, compared with £128.7m a year ago, as “demanding market conditions” took their toll. The supermarket said poorer weather and tough comparatives with the 2014 World Cup led to drop in sales (excluding petrol). Sales in the 19 weeks to date are up 0.5% compared with last year.
Yesterday in the City
Poundland (PLND) was the big faller yesterday in the world of grocery with its shares closing 3.7% down to 299.6p, behind the 300p mark the stock floated at in March 2014. Shares were volatile in the morning directly after the group’s annual results were posted to the LSE, falling more than 6% to a new low of 292.1p at one point before making a slight recovery. Revenues in the group’s first year as a listed plc – the 12 months to 29 March – increased 11.9% to £1.12bn and underlying pre-tax profits were up 18.6% to £43.7m. It is the first time sales at the discount retailer have broken through the £1bn barrier. However, in a trading update for the 11 weeks to 14 June Poundland reported a sales increase of just 3.5% to £228.9m, implying like-for-like figures were down by between 3% and 4%. Trading has been held back in the current financial year by a slowdown in the store opening programme, with only six new shops added to the estate.
The FTSE 100 finished the day 0.4% up at 6,707.9 points after slumping to a five-month low of 6626.2 in earlier trading. The blue-chip index was helped by a jump in fortunes for mining companies and a US equities market rally.
PureCircle (PURE) was up 3.3% for the day at 390p, along with PZ Cussons (PZC), up 1.8% to 365p. Fallers included Hilton Food Group (HFG), down 1.3% to 483p, and Science in Sport (SIS), which was down 2.2% to 63.10p.