Bananas giant Fyffes ripe for picking by Japanese group

Fyffes has agreed to a takeover by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo. Picture: Andrew Stuart

Fyffes has agreed to a takeover by Japanese trading giant Sumitomo. Picture: Andrew Stuart

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Fruit supplier Fyffes is to be acquired by Japan’s Sumitomo Corporation in a deal that values the Irish firm at €751.4 million (£633m)

Sumitomo will pay €2.23 in cash for each Fyffes share, representing a premium of 49 per cent on yesterday’s closing share price.

Hirohiko Imura, director and managing executive officer of Sumitomo, said: “Sumitomo Corporation has long admired Fyffes for its outstanding track record and market-leading position, and we are delighted that the Fyffes directors have unanimously agreed to recommend our offer to shareholders. We believe that our offer represents a great reward for Fyffes’ shareholders.”

In September, Fyffes itself acquired Canada’s All Seasons Mushrooms in a €41m deal, marking its second such acquisition in just six months. That followed the takeover of Ontario-based company Highline Produce in April.

The latest tie-up follows the collapse in 2014 of a planned merger between Fyffes and Chiquita after a consortium led by Brazil juice maker Cutrale and investment firm Safra raised its offer for the US company.

On the Sumitomo deal, Fyffes chairman David McCann said: “We believe this transaction represents a compelling proposition for our shareholders and crystallises the substantial value created in recent years through the various strategic developments and the strong operating performance.”

Sumitomo, a global trading company with a presence in 66 countries, has been active in the banana industry since the 1960s and is the market leader in Asia, importing about 30 per cent of the bananas into the Japanese market.

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