Origin operating profit rises 5.6% in core agri-services
ORIGIN ENTERPRISES yesterday posted full-year results at the top end of expectations, reporting a 6.6 per cent rise in underlying revenues to €1.34 billion.
The company, which is majority owned by Aryzta, increased its dividend by 36 per cent from 11 cent to 15 cent per share as it posted a 5.6 per cent rise in operating profit to €69.7 million for its core agri-services for the year to July 31st, 2012. Including joint ventures, operating profit was up 2.5 per cent at €82.8 million.
Adjusted earnings per share stood at 45.16 cent, an increase of 4.2 per cent from 2011.
Origin operates in the agricultural sector in Ireland, Britain and Poland, and is also involved in a number of joint ventures.
Its agronomy business, which provides technical advisory services to farmers to help maximise yields, performed strongly last year, benefiting from positive margins and volume growth. Origin’s agronomy division includes Masstock and United Agri Products, the UK farm advisory company it acquired in March 2011.
Origin will invest €25 million in its agronomy business over the next four years, it said yesterday.
Operating profit from Origin’s business-to-business agri-inputs division was down on the previous year due to lower fertiliser consumption and greater competition. Underlying volumes for Ireland and Britain in this division were lower than in 2011, although the company said it had prioritised margin delivery.
Profits from Origin’s joint ventures dipped by 11.6 per cent to €13.1 million due to a weaker performance in marine proteins and oil manufacturer Welcon, which it owns jointly with Austevoll Seafoods. This reflected weak pricing.
Valeo, the consumer foods company Origin spun off in late 2010 and in which it has a 32 per cent shareholding, “performed satisfactorily”, the company said yesterday.
Origin also has a 24 per cent shareholding in Continental Farmers Group, which on Tuesday reported profits of €3.5 million for the six months to June 30th.
Origin’s net debt at July 31st was €67.8 million compared with €92.1 million at the end of the previous year, highlighting “the continued strong cash generative nature of the business”, according to the company.
Pre-tax profits rose by 8.4 per cent to €76.2 million, up from €70.3 million in 2011.
Origin, which is listed on the ESM exchange in Dublin and London’s AIM market, finished up 2 per cent at €4.30 in Dublin yesterday.