Abano 1H profit at top of forecast, despite weak Aussie dollar crimping revenue

Abano Healthcare [NZX: ABA], the healthcare investor which last month fended off its third takeover bid in the past five years, reported first-half profit at the top of its forecast range, even as a weak Australian dollar trimmed revenue from across the Tasman.

Net profit attributable to shareholders, which excludes earnings available to minority interests, rose to $2.3 million, or 12.56 cents per share, in the six months ended Nov. 30 from $1.5 million, or 8.87 cents, a year earlier. That was at the top of the forecast range provided at the November annual meeting. Including the share for minority investors in Abano's subsidiaries, profit climbed 31 percent to $2.8 million.

Abano derives more than half its sales from Australia, and a weaker Australian currency ate into revenue which fell 1.7 percent to $106.1 million.

The company said the aborted takeover bid by Archer Capital and Abano investors Peter Hutson and James Reeves cost the firm about $400,000 in the period, though it flushed out approaches from other parties interested in initiatives involving the healthcare specialist.

"At this time, the board is not of the view that any of the opportunities presented ought to be advanced," it said in a statement. "However, the approaches received do provide the board with additional confidence that its assessment of Abano's current and long-term value potential remains appropriate and that Abano's strategy is well-founded."

The shares were unchanged at $6 yesterday, and have slipped 3.4 percent this year.

Abano's dental unit, which makes up more than three-quarters of revenue, reported a 1.1 percent fall in segment sales to $79.1 million, with a 16 percent decline in operating profit to $6.5 million.

The diagnostics unit lifted revenue 1.8 percent to $21.2 million, while operating profit dropped 18 percent to $2.3 million. The rehabilitation business recorded a 17 percent drop in sales to $5.8 million, and a 16 percent slide in earnings to $1.2 million.

The audiology business lifted revenue 18 percent, and almost halved its operating loss to $3.3 million.