Origin Enterprises revenue soars on rising commodity prices

Agri-services group plans new share buyback scheme

Agri-services group Origin Enterprises said revenue rose 41 per cent in a year as commodity prices continued to increase.

In preliminary results for the year ended July 31st, 2022, the company said group revenue rose to €2.3 billion over the 12 months, with operating profit up more than 96 per cent to €119.7 million. Margins rose to 5.1 per cent for the period, up from 3.7 per cent. Previous years were impacted by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and extreme weather events.

Adjusted diluted earnings per share were 71.53 cent, more than double fiscal year 2021’s 35.5 cent.

Origin reported generally very good conditions during the key planting and application periods in all markets, which provided a favourable backdrop for the business amid ongoing price volatility.

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However, higher raw materials pricing hit demand for fertiliser. That offset strong volume performance across the group’s seed and crop protection portfolios.

“FY22 saw strong agricultural commodity price growth and volatile trading conditions across all of the group’s three segments throughout the financial year. Despite these challenges, Origin delivered significantly improved financial returns and a strong operating performance supported by favourable conditions across all markets in the key planting and application periods of the year, in contrast to the previous two years, which were impacted by extreme weather and Covid-19,” said Origin chief executive Sean Coyle.

“The war in Ukraine and ongoing global energy and supply disruptions have resulted in exceptional price volatility for feed and fertiliser raw materials. Strong on-farm sentiment, bolstered by high crop prices, supported the group in successfully navigating this price volatility across each segment.”

The group reported a net cash position of €43.4 million at year-end, compared with a net debt position of €14.4 million in the previous financial year, reflecting the impact of one-off items and the return of €40 million to shareholders during the year through a share buyback programme. The year saw the completion of the first phase of Cork property disposals, which generated cash flow of €19.5 million.

The group also intends to launch a new €20 million share buyback this week, lasting into March next year.

The board is proposing a final dividend of 12.85 cent per share, on top of the interim dividend of 3.15 cent.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist