- Irish agri-nutrition products and food products group Origin Enterprises plc posted a 14% rise in operating profit to €24.0m from €21.1m for the six months to January 31.

Revenue was up 3% at €613.3m from the previous €596.8m. Agri-Services revenue increased by 23% to €569.1m, mainly reflecting higher global fertiliser and feed ingredient prices and higher fertiliser volumes.

Reported pre-tax profit before exceptionals was €11.4m, against the previous H1 profit of €3.9m.

Adjusted earnings per share increased by 32% to 11.45c. The group said it would declare an annual dividend with the final results in September, as previously.

The group said it had seen a 61% increase in Agri-Services operating profit to €12.6m, reflecting an improved operating environment for farming.

There was also a strong result from the Marine Proteins and Oils joint venture.

Net debt was down by €91.8m to €98.7m.

Origin said repositioning of its business profile had followed completion of the Valeo Foods transaction and the creation of an all-Ireland feed ingredients platform, to deliver cash proceeds of around €80m in 2011 for strategic development of Agri-Services.

Separately, the group announced the acquisition of United Agri Products and Rigby Taylor, furthering the development of Agri-Services. It said they were expected to be earnings enhancing from the date of acquisition.

CEO Tom O'Mahony said Origin had performed ahead of expectations during the first half.

Based on its performance so far the group expected full-year adjusted earnings per share from the existing businesses to exceed consensus expectations and to be at least in line with last year.

He said, 'Improving market conditions for primary producers have supported an excellent performance by our Agri-Services division reflected in further growth in Masstock's full service prescription agronomy offering and increased sales volumes of farm inputs.

'The positive demand and supply fundamentals for fishmeal and fish oil raw materials has supported a sustained performance to date from the group's Marine Proteins and Oils joint venture.

'The completion of the Valeo Foods transaction in the period is an important step in refocusing the group's activities whilst also strengthening the competitiveness and market positioning of our consumer foods interests.'

At 9:52am [LON:OGN] share price was +0.23p at 4.03p

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