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Ebos lifts interim profit by 29% as Masterpet performs

Ebos Group, the healthcare and animal care products company, lifted first-half profit by 29 percent on the contribution of its Masterpet business, acquired a year earlier. The first-half dividend has been bumped up 30 percent.

Profit was $14.6 million, or 29 cents a share, in the six months ended December 31, from $11.6 million, or 22 cents, a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company says in a statement. Sales rose 9.4 percent to $755 million.

Ebos, which built a successful business distributing products such as health consumables, diversified its earnings in December 2011 with the acquisition of Masterpet for $105 million plus debt. It was the company's biggest deal and gave it a suite of brands, including Procter & Gamble pet care, Eukanuba and IAMS pet food, and the Vitapet grocery brand.

Sales from animal care jumped to $81 million from $15.5 million, generating earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $9.4 million from about $1.9 million a year earlier, when it did not get a full six-month contribution. Animal care's result met company expectations, the company says.

Healthcare sales were little changed at $673 million, generating EBITDA of $19.6 million, up from about $19 million a year earlier.

The company lifted its interim dividend by 4 cents to 17.5 cents payable on April 3 to shareholders on the register as at March 8.

Ebos says it is evaluating new acquisitions and anticipates "a strong full-year result".

The shares rose 1.1 percent to $8.90.

(BusinessDesk)