Comvita annual earnings pip 2013, meeting guidance; shares fall

Brett Hewlett, Comvita CEO
Comvita 12-month price history (NZX.com)

Comvita [NZX: CVT], which makes health products from manuka honey, said annual earnings and revenue eclipsed 2013, meeting guidance, as recent apiary acquisitions improved its security of supply. The shares fell.

The Te Puke-based company said net profit was about $7.5 million in the 12 months ended March 31 from $7.4 million a year earlier, on revenue of $115.3 million, up from $103.5 million in 2013. The company had previously said it anticipated beating 2013 profit and sales.

"When unconstrained by raw material shortages, as happened in the second six months, we clearly have growth momentum," chief executive Brett Howlett said in a statement. "The strategy of acquiring apiary businesses is working to alleviate the supply shortage pressures."

The shares fell 3.2 percent to $3, and have dropped 15 percent this year.

When reporting a first-half loss of $790,000 in November, the company said price competition in Australia and the UK was holding back sales, and that Hong Kong was struggling under the heightened scrutiny of New Zealand food products after the false alarm over some of Fonterra Cooperative Group's whey protein concentrate.

Comvita today said net debt was largely unchanged at $26.5 million as at March 31 from a year earlier, with apiary acquisitions funded through operating cash flow and a $9 million placement to Nasdaq-listed Derma Sciences.

The company will release audited annual results on May 23.

(BusinessDesk)

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