Shares in agri-services group Origin Enterprises slumped over 7% as it reported a 13.7% dip in revenue in the three months to October and cautioned that its full year operating profit is now expected to be lower than the current range of estimates.

In a trading update issued ahead of its AGM today, the group said there had been a slower start to trading in what is already its quiet first quarter. 

That saw revenues fall to €371.2m from €430m the same time last year, with a particularly sharp dip in its Irish and British operations.

Revenues in its Irish and UK operations were down 23.6% on an underlying basis, with a 24.1% reduction in underlying agronomy services and crop input volumes in the three month period. 

The company said its Irish and UK farmers and growers experienced "highly challenging" operating conditions during the first quarter, leading to a lower level of crop plantings following abnormally high rainfall levels. 

It said the total autumn/winter cereal and oil seed rape planted area, as a result, is now forecast to be 25% lower than last year at 2.1 million hectares. 

Origin's Continental Europe operations also recorded an underlying volume reduction in agronomy services and crop inputs of 17.9%. 

It noted a good start to the year in Poland and Ukraine, while early momentum in Romania was slower as dry ground conditions impacted plantings. 

The company's Belgian fertiliser business performed in line with expectations and is consistent with the previous year's comparatives.  

It added that its Latin America continued to build momentum and delivered a solid contribution, despite sustained dry conditions experienced across the region which have delayed the soya planting season. 

Looking ahead, Origin said the challenging weather conditions experienced by farmers and growers in the first quarter is expected to lead to a higher concentration of sales demand in the second half and an increased level of seasonality overall in the 2020 financial year.

"The reduced level of autumn plantings and higher level of spring plantings anticipated, particularly in the UK, means that group operating profit for FY20 is expected to be lower than the current range of analysts' estimates," it added.

Shares in the company closed 7.25% lower at €4.15 in Dublin trade today.