Origin expects to meet full-year target

Agri-services group Origin Enterprises expects to meet its full-year financial targets, despite seeing a 12.5% (€44m) annualised decline in first-quarter revenues.

The Dublin-based company, which counts Irish-Swiss bakery giant Aryzta as its primary shareholder, yesterday reported first-quarter revenue of €307.3m for the three months to the end of October which is traditionally the quiet period of the firm’s financial year. This was down from €351.2m from the first quarter of its last fiscal year.

Origin’s management called the latest quarterly performance satisfactory and in line with expectations, given the time of year. The underlying decrease in revenue was blamed on lower global fertiliser and feed prices.

The company added that the recent sale of its 50% stake in non-core marine proteins and oils subsidiary, Welcon Invest AS, to Norwegian partner Austevoll Seafoods, not only strengthens Origins’ focus on its core agri-services business, but increases the seasonality profile of the group.

It added, based on its existing business platform, approximately 90% of earnings will typically arise in the second half of the financial year.

The company also recently reached agreement to buy a controlling stake in Ukrainian farming services company, Agroscope, for nearly €13m.

Yesterday’s update noted a good start, weather-wise, in Britain and Poland.

“The current cropping profile provides a strong platform for the seasonally more important second half of the financial year. This, together with the recently announced tender offer [€100m being returned to shareholders], will offset the dilutive impact of the Welcon disposal.

“We continue to expect adjusted diluted earnings per share for the current financial year, before the impact of the pending Agroscope acquisition, to be broadly in line with the 2013 financial year,” management said.

It added its non-core consumer foods interest, Valeo Foods, delivered a solid performance.


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