Agri-services group Origin Enterprises has reported an improved performance for the six months to the end of January and announced it was buying a UK firm for over £11m.

Origin Enterprises reported a loss before tax of €64,000 for its fiscal first half - traditionally a quiet period for the company. This compared to a loss before tax of €4.083m the same time last year 

Revenues for the six month period rose to €564m from €507m.

The company said a solid foundation has been established for the seasonally important second half with its cropping base consistent with the previous year.

During the six month period, Origin bought the fertiliser blending and nutrition business of Bunn Fertiliser in the UK, while it also started a five year collaborative research partnership with University College Dublin to build digitally based agronomy advisory tools.

The company also announced today a deal to buy UK-based digital agricultural services group Resterra for an initial cash consideration of £11.4m.

Resterra specialises in the delivery of bespoke precision agronomy applications and provides agri-tech services to primary producers, input manufacturers and agri-service companies.

Origin chief executive Tom O'Mahony said the company managed to achieve good volume growth and margin recovery in the seasonally quiet first half of the financial year following a challenging trading year in 2016. 

Mr O'Mahony said the company's performance was supported by a more stable near term planning environment for primary producers together with the benefit of generally settled weather, which led to increased on-farm activity throughout the period.

He said the company remains focused on embedding strategic cost initiatives, working capital management and business integration. 

"The consolidation of acquisitions completed in 2016 in the UK, Poland and Romania is progressing as planned. The performance in the period provides a solid foundation for the seasonally more important second half when over 90% of earnings are typically generated," he added.

Shares in the company were higher in Dublin trade today.