Agri-food firm’s profits hit €93m

Irish food and agri-business group Origin Enterprises has reported strong annual profits of €92.9m in the year to the end of July despite experiencing a slight dip in revenues.

Agri-food firm’s profits hit €93m

Origin’s operating profits grew by more than 2% in the year on the back of “near perfect planting and growing conditions” which aided demand for agronomy services and farm inputs.

Chief executive Tom O’Mahony said the results were delivered in spite of the disposal of the company’s marine joint venture.

“Origin achieved an excellent result in 2014, recording a 16.7% increase in underlying adjusted diluted earnings per share with year-end net debt under €12m,” he said.

“The performance for 2014 underlines the strength of the group’s positioning in agri-services, with growth achieved against the dilutive impact of disposal of our marine proteins and oils joint venture interest.”

Revenue for the year slipped 0.2% to €1.42bn but was countered by stronger operating margins driven by a robust performance from the higher margin agronomy services, according to Investec.

Operating profit from agri-services increased by more than 15% to €79.5m.

Revenue from the same business segment fell 3.3% as a result of lower global fertiliser and feed prices, which were partially offset by higher fertiliser, crop protection and marketing volumes.

Origin’s Polish operations experienced a satisfactory performance while its Ukrainian business delivered a robust contribution despite political and economic uncertainty.

In January, Origin acquired a controlling stake in the Ukrainian-based Agroscope, which it says is an excellent strategic fit adding complementary expertise and strong brand reputation.

Valeo Food Group — in which Origin holds a 32% share — performed in line with expectations despite the competitive grocery sector in which it operates.

"Origin has a strong capacity to fund new market opportunities and we are confident of delivering further earnings growth in 2015,” Mr O’Mahony said.

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