Irish fruit and vegetable distributor Fyffes posted an 8.8% rise in pre-tax profit of 42.3m euros for the six months ended June 30 compared with the same period last year.

Turnover was also up 9.5% to 42.3m euros from 38.9m euros last year.

The group said that the rise in turnover included first-time contributions from two significant acquisitions made at the end of 2002 - 80% of German banana distribution business Interfrucht, bought for US$30m and 70% of Czech-based Hortim International, acquired last July.

Pre-tax profits also reflected the positive impact of these acquisitions.

However, chairman Neil McCann said: “Europe has experienced exceptionally hot weather since late July with record high temperatures. This temporary phenomenon has had a material impact on consumption which, in turn, adversely affected demand.”

He said that this has affected the group’s profits by 8m euros. By September, demand and pricing levels should return to normal, McCann said.