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Origin shares soar as it expects to hit annual profit targets

SHARES in Origin Enterprises surged nearly 10pc yesterday after the company said it would still hit its profit targets despite a slow start to the year.

In a trading update, the agri-services group said revenue for the three months to the end of April – the third quarter of Origin's year – had slipped 5.2pc to €428m compared to the same period a year earlier.

So far this year turnover is up 3.8pc compared to last year, at €995.7m.

The company blamed the drop on bad weather in the UK. Even though revenues are weaker so far this year, Origin said it still expected to meet its forecasts by the end of the year.

That cheered traders, who had been expecting Origin to reduce its forecasts on the back of the poor weather.

"Significant catch-up activity on-farm is expected during the final quarter of the group's financial year to July 31," Origin said.

"The higher profits from our associates and joint ventures in the current year will offset the weather impact on our agri-services business where full-year profits are expected to be lower than budget but in line with last year.

"The group's financial position remains strong and we are comfortable with analyst market expectations of adjusted, fully diluted earnings per share for the financial year of approximately 48.5c," the company said.

The decision not to cut the full-year target cheered markets, with Davy Stockbrokers' Cathal Kenny claiming the figures demonstrated the new strength of Origin's business model.

"What was considered a robust model can be said to be more robust still in the context of weather conditions, especially for the UK arable sector," he said.

"There is no surprise that feed demand in Ireland is ahead but higher fertiliser volume is a positive surprise."

By the close in Dublin, shares were up 10.9pc at €5.30. The stock is up nearly 60pc in the past year.

Irish Independent