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Origin chief urges caution despite 15.6% rise in profits


Growth: Tom O’Mahony

Growth: Tom O’Mahony

Growth: Tom O’Mahony

Origin Enterprises is maintaining a cautious approach to capital allocation, including acquisitions, until the final outcome of Brexit is known, according to chief executive Tom O'Mahony.

Mr O'Mahony said the UK's departure from the EU was a low-risk event for the agri-services group, given that many of its imports to the UK already arrive under World Trade Organisation rules.

Continental Europe and Latin America remain the primary focus for any potential acquisition activity, he stressed.

"We have signalled our commitment to grow organically and through acquisition", Mr O'Mahony said.

"I think when we use the word 'cautious', Brexit is there and we should not be allocating a lot of capital to three, four or five acquisitions in the one year.

"I think it's sensible (we) buy and build until we see how this whole thing plays out."

Mr O'Mahony was speaking as Origin Enterprises reported full-year results that benefited from a strong performance in the UK and Ireland that was boosted by the fodder crisis. The markets are expected to normalise in the current financial year.

The firm's revenue rose 10.5% to £1.58bn (€1.79bn) in the year to the end of July, up 7.2% on an underlying basis.

Operating profit rose 15.6% to £72.8m (€82.3m), up 3.5% on the same basis.

Origin Enterprises is the joint owner of a number of businesses with Belfast-based company W&R Barnett.

Belfast Telegraph