Business Irish

Friday 23 February 2018

Origin sees revenues hit €1bn after 'robust' activity on farms

Origin CEO Tom O'Mahony
Origin CEO Tom O'Mahony
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Agri services group Origin Enterprises has increased its full-year earnings guidance after reporting "robust activity" on farms.

The company, headed by chief executive Tom O'Mahony, said that revenue in the three months to the end of April rose 19.8pc to €512.8m. Excluding acquisitions, underlying revenue was 13.2pc higher.

Origin, a spin-off of the former IAWS group, said it's raising its full-year earnings guidance by three cent per share to about 55 cent.

It pointed out that the group's earnings profile is significantly weighted towards the second half of the financial year, which accounts for about 90pc of earnings. It's currently in the final quarter of its financial year.

Origin, which provides services in countries including Ireland, the UK, Poland and Ukraine, said that revenues in the nine months to the end of April were €1.03bn, 3.5pc ahead of the corresponding period in the previous financial year.

It said its agronomy services business in the UK maintained "excellent momentum" in the third quarter, achieving higher revenues and profits as near perfect growing conditions supported the accelerated development of winter and spring crop plantings.

"The performance contrasts sharply with the same period last year when lower activity levels on farms impacted volumes as unseasonably cold spring weather slowed crop development and significantly curtailed in-field operations," it explained.

Origin completed the acquisition of a 60pc controlling interest in Argoscope in Ukraine back in January. Origin said Argoscope had been earnings enhancing in the period and performed well in the quarter with favourable sales and margins.

"Argoscope is maintaining a cautious planning approach in the current season in light of the recent challenges facing Ukraine," warned Origin in its trading update.

The company said that Valeo Foods, the group which owns brands such as Batchelors, Odlums and Romam and in which Origin has a 32pc stake, had performed in line with expectations during the period. It said the brands continue to maintain leadership positions despite a highly competitive grocery market.

Shares in Origin were trading over 1pc higher by late morning yesterday, valuing the company at just over €1bn.

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