(May 12) Big, apparently, wasn’t big enough for Ireland’s Fyffes PLC, which already is one of the largest fresh produce distribution companies in Europe.

Now the company has gotten bigger by acquiring a 60% stake in Swedish fruit and vegetable distributor Everfresh for $34.2 million, with plans to purchase the rest of the 17-year-old company by the beginning of 2007.

Dublin-based Fyffes is to complete the purchase of the 60% stake in Everfresh by early July, Carl McCann, Fyffes’ chairman, announced May 7.

Fyffes said the cost of a complete buyout of Everfresh will work out as 6.25 times Everfresh’s average net profit during the next three years, subject to a maximum of $92.33 million.

Crucial to the deal, Fyffes’ spokesman Brian Bell said, was Everfresh’s ready access to the Scandinavian market.

“(Fyffes) has always been supplying bananas to Everfresh in Sweden. The company has 25% of the fruit market there,” Bell said.

Everfresh and its Danish subsidiary, Lembcke AS, now give Fyffes the largest produce distributor in Scandinavia, Bell said.