Total Produce

Total Produce saw profits surge last year despite the challenges caused by salad shortages in southern Europe.

Pre-tax profits were up 43.2% to €72.5m (£64.3m) in the year to 31 December 2017, its preliminary results for 2017 show, while total revenue was up 13.9% year on year to €4.29bn (£3.8bn).

The Irish produce supplier’s like-for-like sales also rose by around 4%, contributing in part to an adjusted EBITDA up 10.1% to €104.4m (£92.6m).

Hailing the “very positive” results, Total Produce chairman Carl McCann said the company had enjoyed “satisfactory” trading conditions, with a diversified business model helping it see out the temporary shortages of certain salad and vegetable lines without material impact.

In Europe, the company’s profits were boosted by the weakening of the pound and Swedish krona, with salad volume shortages and industry-wide issues with South African citrus fruits offset by “improved trading in other produce categories”.

Its North America operations saw less favourable trading conditions due to a market surplus driving down prices and poor weather affecting quality, but its international division benefited from acquisitions made throughout the year, particularly in the US and Canada. It upped its share in the Canadian Oppy Group to a controlling 65%, purchased a 50% interest in Californian produce company Fresh Connection and completed its takeover of Pennsylvania-based Keystone Fruit Marketing.

It comes as the company last month announced it had purchased a 45% share in exotic fruit supplier Dole for $300m (£211.5m) in a bid create the “world’s leading fruit and vegetables group”.

“It represents a very significant step in the history of Total Produce and a continuation of its successful acquisition and expansion strategy,” said McCann. “Total Produce is targeting continued growth in 2018, on a like-for-like basis.”