Irish fruit distributor Fyffes has bought a pineapple plantation and related production assets from Agroindustries Golden West in Panama.

The total cost of the transaction is expected to amount to US$8m, including debt acquired and deferred consideration payments.

The acquisition involves around 450 hectares and will add to the company’s existing pineapple farms in Costa Rica. The deal will see Fyffes directly producing 50% of the pineapples it markets by 2010.

David McCann, Fyffes’ chairman, said: “This acquisition is an important step in increasing and securing the supply and quality of our Fyffes Gold pineapples. The further integration of production, shipping and marketing is a positive development for Fyffes and its customers.”

In March, the company saw its full-year profits plummet due to a loss from a property investment and increased costs.

Net income for the 12 months ended 31 December sank to EUR70,000 (US$89,602), down from EUR9.3m last year, and pre-tax profit before one-time items declined to EUR15.9m, down from EUR18.4m.