Agri-services group Origin Enterprises announced its interim results for the half year ended 31 January on Thursday, reporting good first half performance in a seasonally quiet trading period, with operating profit 12.6% higher at 2.3m.
The company, traded on the ESM in Dublin and AIM in London, said it saw improved working capital performance in the period, with a working capital cash inflow of 10.7m for the 12 months to 31 January.
Group revenue improved 22.47m to 586.91m, with total group operating profit rising 0.22m to 3.97m.
Its loss before tax narrowed 0.03m to 0.03m, while its basic losses per share totalled 1.61 euro cents - a significant improvement on the 8.09 cents reported for the same period last year.
Adjusted diluted earnings per share were up 0.02 cents to 0.27 cents.
Origin's net debt widened 9.79m during the period, sitting at 171.38m at the end of January.
On the operational front, the company said a favourable autumn and winter cropping base was established for the seasonally important second half.
Bunn Fertiliser, acquired in August last year, was fully integrated during the period, with the firm also acquiring Belgium-based fertiliser and nutrition business Pillaert-Mekoson.
The board said it pushed ahead with the enablement of 'digital agronomy', through the launch of its new data driven information service and crop monitoring tools.
It appointed Rafal Prendke as the chief executive of its continental Europe division as well.
Origin's board declared an interim dividend of 3.15 euro cents per share - no change from the interim dividend paid a year ago.
"Origin has achieved a good first half result with favourable activity levels on farm supporting a 12.6% increase in group operating profit in the seasonally quiet trading period," said chief executive Tom O'Mahony.
"The acquisition of Belgium-based Pillaert-Mekoson in the period scales our market position in continental Europe, and provides further buy and build consolidation and growth opportunity.
"Our objectives for digital services enablement across Origin's customer and geographic markets were significantly advanced during the period."
O'Mahony said the company was continuing to prioritise new growth opportunity in agri-services while focusing on cash generation, operational and commercial effectiveness.
"The autumn and winter cropping profile established to date provides a solid foundation for the seasonally more important second half when over 90% of earnings are typically generated.
"An update on the full year outlook will be provided at the time of the announcement of the third quarter trading update on 19 June 2018."