Profits warning from Geest

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Shares in Geest, the banana importer and fresh produce group, lost almost a quarter of their value yesterday after the company issued a profits warning. The shares fell 32p to 107p when the company said this year's profits would be "materially below" last year's pounds 12.8m. The company blamed the problems on an excess supply of bananas caused by changes in European Union import quotas. These have caused prices in October to fall 30 per cent below last year's levels. The company announced a further pounds 7m of provisions on top of the pounds 5m announced in the first half. Analysts are now forecasting a pounds 4m loss.

Investment Column, page 26