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Origin Agritech Limited (SEED) Reports 75% Increase in Q3 EPS

Origin Agritech Limited (SEED), a supplier of natural and genetically-modified crop seeds in China, reported fiscal third quarter 2008 financial results this afternoon during extended trading. Revenues increased 7.7% to RMB 490.7 (US $71.5 million), compared to RMB 455.5 (US $59.8 million) for the same period in 2007. Net income increased 63% to RMB 60.1 million (US $8.8 million) year-over-year from RMB 36.9 million (US $4.9 million). Earnings per share were US $0.38 vs. US $0.20 in Q3 2007.

Gross margins for the quarter improved to 29.4% from 23.9%. Average sales prices across corn seed types increased 10.3%, while operating expenses decreased 7.8%. Origin has $48.8 million in cash on the balance sheet and shareholder’s equity of $48.5 million.

The company issued full-year 2008 guidance. Revenues are expected to total US $75 – $80 million. Origin anticipates 2008 earnings of US $0.5 – $2.0 million. Excluding non-cash interest expense of US $2.65 million, the company expects non-GAAP earnings of US $3.0 – $4.5 million. Management will conduct a conference call on Thursday morning, August 28, at 9:00 am to discuss third quarter results.

Shares of SEED closed at $4.74 today and have traded in a 52-week range of $4.32 – $14.99. With 23 million shares outstanding, SEED has a market cap of approximately $109 million. Shares are bid 10% higher at $5.24 in light after-hours trading.

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