Hellaby lifts profit 26% on equipment, automotive divisions

The NZX-listed diversified investment group posts its third year of profit growth.

BUSINESSDESK: Hellaby Holdings, the NZX-listed diversified investment group, posted its third year of profit growth, led by an increase in earnings across its equipment, footwear and automotive divisions.

Profit rose 26% to $19.3 million in the 12 months ended June 30, the Auckland-based company says. Sales rose 6.1% to $497.7 million.

"Hellaby has delivered a strong group result through outstanding performance from our equipment and footwear divisions, a steady performance from our automotive division," managing director John Williamson says.

"Despite strong economic headwinds, we achieved our goal to outpace the markets in which we operate.

"Sales growth was well ahead of broader economic growth and we saw a satisfactory uplift in profits, margins and return on funds from most subsidiaries," he says.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation increased 10% to $37.4 million. The footwear division made up 21% of earnings as margins, profitability and cashflow was freed up in the company's Hannahs and Number One Shoes subsidiaries.

Earnings in the equipment division rose to $6.4 million from $2.6 million, while the automotive division's ebitda was up 3.7% on last year.

Hellaby's packaging division, Elldex packing group, bucked the trend, with earnings down $3.6 million after lower volumes into supermarket, horticulture and dairy sectors.

It had no new acquisitions during the year but is "actively seeking investment opportunities" targeting "clearly defined sectors which complement our business mix",  Mr Williamson says.

"We are confident that our portfolio growth will begin in this financial year." 

Shares in the company are unchanged at $3.20. The stock has gained about 33% this year.

The board declared a fully imputed final dividend of 8 cents a share, payable on October 19. That takes the total dividend for the year to 13 cents up from 10 cents a year earlier.