An analysis of the seven agri-food companies listed on the Irish stock market has said their shares are trading relatively cheaply, while yields from dividends are at their highest for the last decade.

Bloxham analyst Joe Gill's report identifies Kerry Group and Total Produce as its preferred shares in the sector.

He says Kerry offers exposure to world ingredients markets and the consumer foods markets in Ireland and the UK, while fruit importer and distributor Total Produce has a strong European business.

The report says the strong financial positions of the Irish food groups provide 'defensive attributes'. It says stable and well-covered dividends provide consistency to investors in a period of unprecedented volatility, and the Irish food companies fit that bill for shareholders.

Mr Gill says the seven firms have a market value of more than €5 billion and account for 16% of the ISEQ index. He estimates that their earnings are only 20% dependent on the Irish market.