Agri-services group Origin buys renewables consultancy Neo

Sean Coyle, CEO of Origin Enterprises

Sarah Collins

Agri-services group Origin Enterprises has acquired renewables consultancy Neo Environmental.

Neo has clients across the UK and Ireland and has advised on over 800 projects since its foundation in 2012, completing work on over gigawatts of renewable energy projects.

The purchase follows the acquisition of UK-based independent ecology solutions provider Keystone Environmental late last year.

Origin’s chief executive officer Sean Coyle said the acquisition was part of a plan to “broaden the group's amenity, environmental and ecological portfolio” and enhances its ambition of “promoting sustainable land use”.

“In addition to clients in the energy and infrastructure sectors, as subsidy regimes change, we expect farmers will continue to assess alternative uses for less productive agricultural land,” Mr Coyle said.

“Neo, in conjunction with our existing ecological specialist business Keystone Environmental, will ensure we are positioned to provide an enhanced range of consulting and advisory services. We are delighted to welcome Neo to the Origin Group and look forward to working with the team.”

Goodbody analyst Jason Molins said the move would add around 1pc to the firm’s earnings.

It follows the completion of Origin’s €20m share buyback programme this week, with a total of €60m returned to shareholders via share buybacks in the last two years.

Mr Coyle said the group would focus on further bolt-on acquisitions, strategic capital expenditure to drive organic growth and a “progressive” dividend policy in the near term.

Earlier this month Origin reported a rise in revenues in the first half of its financial year, a growth attributed to price rises and demand in Latin America.

It recorded an operating profit of €20.3m for the half year ended January 31, according to annual results.

This reflected a sharp rise from the €11.1m reported in the same period last year, a growth that was supported by favourable currency movements. On an underlying basis, the rise year-on-year was €6.2m.