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Ireland-based global fruit and vegetable distributor Total Produce has posted a rise in first half sales and EBITDA despite the negative impact of currencies and “unusual” weather patterns in Europe.

Revenues for the six months to 31 June were up 1.8% to €2.2bn, benefitting from the contribution of acquisitions made in the past eighteen months.

However, top-line growth was hampered by the relative strength of the euro and the weaker US dollar and Swedish krona.

Adjusted EBITDA was up 7.4% to €56.7m, with adjusted profit before tax up 7% to €41.8m.

EBITA margin in the period increased to 2.09% from 1.98% in the previous period.

On a constant currency basis revenue and adjusted EBITA increased by 5.6% and 11.7% respectively.

“Unusual weather patterns” in Europe had an impact on supply and demand dynamics in the early months of the period which affected production and trading, the company stated.

On a like-for-like basis, excluding acquisitions, divestments and currency translation, revenue was in line with prior year with a marginal increase in volume offset by a small decrease in average prices.

Volume increases in the North America business compensated for a marginal decrease in volumes in the European business.

In the eurozone, including businesses in France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, revenue decreased by 3.2% to €874m with an 8.2% increase in adjusted EBITA to €14.9m.

Non-eurozone business, including the UK, Czech Republic, Poland and Scandinavia, sales decreased by 2.4% to €781m with adjusted EBITA decreasing by 3.3% to €21.4m.

Its international division, which includes the group’s businesses in North America and India, saw sales increase by 18% to €556m with adjusted EBITA increasing 40.8% to €9.3m driven largely by acquisitions.

Carl McCann, Chairman, said: “The Group continues to target full year growth excluding the impact of the Dole transaction and the related share placing.”

As announced on 1 February 2018, the Group entered into an agreement to acquire a 45% stake in Dole Food Company, one of the largest fresh produce companies in the world, for $300m along with options to further increase the group’s stake.

On 1 February 2018, 63 million ordinary shares were issued raising $180m to finance the Dole transaction.

“The 2019 financial year will be the first full year reflecting the scale of this transformative transaction. The conclusion of the Dole transaction represents a very significant development in the group’s successful expansion strategy,” Dole added.

Morning update

WH Smith (SMWH) has issued a brief trading statement ahead of the close of its financial year.

It said its travel business continues to perform “strongly” with “good” sales across all of its channels.

The company’s store opening programme both in the UK and internationally is in line with its plan, having opened eight stores in Madrid Terminal 4 in mid August and the first of six stores in Rio de Janeiro.

It now has 286 stores open internationally and continues to see “further opportunities in the international news, books and convenience travel market”.

Its traditional high street business “continues to perform in line with expectations”.

Cost savings and margin improvements have been delivered in line with its profit focused strategy for the division.

“We continue to invest in our new store format trials and have developed further our stationery ranges,” the company added.

The company, which will report its full-year results for the period to 31 August 2018 on 11 October, expects the year to be in line with expectations.

On the markets this morning, the FTSE 100 has sunk another 0.8% back to 7,502.1pts

Total Produce shares are up 2.9% to 195p, while WH Smith shares are up 0.5% to 2,062p on this morning’s news.

There are plenty of fallers elsewhere though, including Greencore (GNC), down 1.6% to 167.8p, Reckitt Benckiser (RB), down 1.3% to 6,612p, PZ Cussons (PZC), down 1.3% to 237.2p, British American Tobacco (BATS), down 1.1% to 3,796p and Imperial Brands (IMB), down 1% to 2,740.5p.

Risers so far today include Devro (DVO), up 1% to 198.5p, Hilton Food Group (HFG), up 0.9% to 928p and Dairy Crest (DCG), up 0.5% to 476.7p.

Yesterday in the City

The FTSE 100 slumped 0.7% back to 7,563.2pts yesterday, defying largely positive global sentiment on stocks as a rise in the pound put pressure on UK-listed shares.

Most notably, Tesco (TSCO) fell back 3.2% to 249.9p, seemingly on the back of cautionary comments from broker Barclays.

Fellow FTSE 100 consumer fallers included British American Tobacco (BATS), down 1.4% to 3,837p, Compass Group (CPG), down 1% to 1,675p and Morrisons (MRW), down 1% to 266.1p

Other fallers included Stock Spirits (STCK), down 2.6% to 191p, McBride (MCB), down 1.7% to 129.8p and Greene King (GNK), down 1.6% to 472.8p.

Amongst the risers yesterday were Associated British Foods (ABF), up 1.5% to 2,320p, AG Barr (BAG), up 1.9% to 702p, McColl’s (MCLS), up 1.9% to 137.5p and B&M European Value Retail (BME), up 0.9% to 410.1p

Pernod Ricard (RI), which announced its full-year results yesterday and upgraded its 2019 earnings expectations, ended the day flat at €138.45.