Thursday 14 December 2017

Origin raises dividend after strong results despite fall in revenues

Peter Flanagan

AGRI-BUSINESS Origin Enterprises yesterday reported strong annual results, despite a heavy fall in revenues.

The company, which is majority-owned by the Swiss food giant Aryzta, recorded a 2.5pc decline in operating profit to €77.4m on the back of revenues that fell by more than 11pc to €1.337bn. Those figures translated to adjusted earning per share of 37.26c -- an increase of 3pc. The dividend has been increased slightly to 9c. Net debt was cut by more than a quarter to €111.9m.

The profit was driven by a strong second half of the year. Operating profit increased by 9.1pc in the last six months, which is traditionally the busier time for the company, compared with a fall of 24.1pc in the first-half of the year.

Origin's chief executive, Tom O'Mahony, was pleased with the results, describing them as "resilient".

"We have managed to grow the business across the board. Our joint venture in the consumer foods division, Valeo, has put is in a very good position to move forward," he said.


"The fall in revenue was due to price deflation but also in large part to low commodity prices," he added.

Mr O'Mahony indicated that while the company was looking to grow organically, he would be "disappointed" if it did not make another acquisition "within the next 12 months".

The agri-nutrition business, led by the Masstock agronomy service, performed "robustly". In Ireland, a return to profitability of dairy farming combined with improved confidence across the beef and sheep sectors drove year-on-year increases in feed ingredient and fertiliser volumes.

Origin's joint venture in the marine proteins business, Welcon, showed "excellent" growth during the year, especially in South America, the company said. The results were welcomed by analysts with most saying they would revise company forecasts up as a result.

Irish Independent

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