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Good growth in banana and pineapple shipments

John O`Reilly, analyst at Davy Stockbrokers said the interim period recorded very good organic mid-teen volume growth in banana and pineapple shipments. `However, this growth was not enough to offset weak year-on-year green banana pricing in the period (down 11.9pc and down 7.5pc on a simple average basis for first quarter and first half respectively on our data) and higher year-on-year bunker fuel costs,` he said. So far, in the third quarter the average green price is up 16.9pc year-on-year.

`We think this price trend can continue with the damage to current production in the Caribbean from Hurricane Dean (as we write another hurricane is threatening banana- producing countries). Barring any curtailment to volume shipments, the outlook for the current period, and the full year, looks positive` Mr O`Reilly said.

Liam Igoe, analyst at Goodbody Stockbrokers, said the results were broadly in line with expectations. `The key factor behind the fall is the decline in EU banana prices in the first half of the year which we estimate was 8pc lower, on average, than in the first half of 2006` he said.

Fyffes banana volumes, were up strongly in the first half (plus 15pc) and the company pointed to higher operating costs. `In addition Fyffes Brazilian melon acquisition, Nolem, continued to make losses in first half of 2007 of 2.8m` he added.

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