Irish fruit and vegetable provider Total Produce is targeting a dividend for investors and expects to turn a profit in the coming year, the company said in a trading update on Friday.
It said in a note that it is targeting continued growth for 2019. The group’s full year earnings growth expectations remain unchanged, despite competitive markets and more uncertainty surrounding international trade.
As previously announced, the group has completed the acquisition of a 45 per cent stake in Dole Food Company, one of the largest fresh produce companies in the world.
Total Produce said Dole is currently trading in line with expectations, and 2019 will be the first full-year incorporating the group’s share of Dole’s results.
Subject to shareholder approval, a final dividend of 2.5140 cent per share will be paid on June 6th representing a 2.5 per cent increase on last year.
“Total Produce is in a strong financial position and the Dole transaction represents a very significant step and a continuation of the Group’s successful expansion strategy,” it said.
Three executives in Total Produce shared bonus awards of €1.35 million connected with the company’s acquisition of the stake in Dole Foods.
Executive chairman Carl McCann was awarded €500,000 worth of shares, while chief executive Rory Byrne received €250,000 in cash and the same amount in shares.
The company paid finance director Frank Davis €175,000 in cash and shares valued to the same amount.
The €925,000 worth of share awards have to be held by the directors for at least five years, according to its annual report, and were paid in “recognition of their commitment and effort” in relation to the Dole transaction.
A separate €282,000 award of shares was made to the executives under a short-term incentive plan. This included €69,000 in cash to settle “relevant taxes”.