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Origin Enterprises on track despite 'challenging' Ukraine conditions

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Newly mobilized Ukrainian paratroopers aim a weapon during a military drill near Zhytomyr March 6, 2015.     REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko (UKRAINE - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Newly mobilized Ukrainian paratroopers aim a weapon during a military drill near Zhytomyr March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko (UKRAINE - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

REUTERS

Newly mobilized Ukrainian paratroopers aim a weapon during a military drill near Zhytomyr March 6, 2015. REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko (UKRAINE - Tags: MILITARY POLITICS CIVIL UNREST CONFLICT)

Irish agricultural group Origin Enterprises said trading conditions in Ukraine remain "extremely challenging" due to the continuing tensions and skirmishes between Russian and national forces there.

It said that its agroscope subsidiary in the country managed to deliver a "resilient performance" in the six months to the end of January, however, "through prioritising a rigorous management of working capital".

In January last year, Origin Enterprises completed a near €13m deal to buy 60pc of Argoscope, which provides services to arable and root crop growers.

Origin, which is 68pc-owned by food group and Cuisine de France owner Aryzta, posted first-half results yesterday.

Its group operating profit fell 2.9pc to €10.4m in the six months to the end of January.

The first half of its financial year is the company's quietest period.

Revenue at the company rose 2.7pc to €531.6m.

Chief executive Tom O'Mahony described the results as "solid". He said that continuing challenges in the farming industry helps to make Origin Enterprises customised agronomy services more valuable to clients.

The company also maintained its full-year financial outlook, expecting to generate adjusted earnings per share of 60 cent for the period.

It generates about 90pc of its earnings in the second half of its financial year.

Origin also owns 32pc of consumer foods business Valeo, which owns brands such as Odlums, Roma and Batchelors.

It said that Valeo had performed "satisfactorily" in the six months to the end of January, but noted that consumers are continuing to increasingly buy private label products and spending more of their money with discount shopping chains.

Irish Independent