Tropical fruit specialist Fyffes has increased profits by a third after it passed on higher cost prices to customers but it warned it still needed more.

The Irish group last week reported pre-tax profits up 33% to €21.2m, with turnover including joint ventures falling 1.4% to €727m.

Fyffes described the results as its best since EU banana import regulations changed in 2005.

"The group achieved the necessary increases in selling prices to offset the negative impact of higher costs and adverse exchange movements in 2009," said chairman David McCann.

Despite the profit improvements, Fyffes warned that 2010 results could be hit following a tough start to the year caused by cold weather in Europe and a stronger dollar.

"Exchange rates have deteriorated further and, as a result, Fyffes will continue to pursue further rises in selling prices in all markets," it said.