Ebos on target to meet forecast earnings in first half

Ebos Group is on target to meet its forecast earnings in the first half as its $1.1 billion acquisition of Australian pharmaceuticals firm Symbion gives it greater scale across the Tasman.

Ebos Group [NZX: EBO], the healthcare and animal care products company, is on target to meet its forecast earnings in the first half as its $1.1 billion acquisition of Australian pharmaceuticals firm Symbion gives it greater scale across the Tasman.

The Christchurch-based company expects to meet its forecast net profit of $48.7 million on revenue of $3.17 billion in the six months ending Dec. 31, having finished the first quarter, according to presentation slides accompanying managing director Mark Waller's speech to the annual meeting published on the stock exchange website.

Ebos aims to more than triple sales as a result of the Symbion purchase, which chairman Rick Christie said to shareholders yesterday increases its scale to invest in infrastructure and opens up the Australian market for the company.

"Ebos was already in Australia of course, but the opportunities now before us are so much bigger," Christie said in speech notes published on the NZX. "This is without doubt a major step for us."

The company is still keen on making more acquisitions, and has capacity on its balance sheet to do so, Christie said.

In August, Waller told BusinessDesk the company was eyeing two potential targets, one in healthcare and one in pet care.

The shares rose 0.4 percent to $9.64 in trading yesterday, and have gained 33 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'hold' based on three analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $10.40.

Christie told shareholders the company is "progressing well" with a planned secondary listing on the ASX, and is still targeting to list by the end of the year.

In June, Ebos was named the preferred respondent in the New Zealand government-owned Health Benefits Ltd's tender streamlining medical supplies distribution across the national hospital network, a deal Christie called "potentially very significant."

The company's key strategies for its healthcare sector include expanding its third-party logistics offering and building its existing medical consumable business in Australia using Symbion's scale, reducing its reliance on business derived from government policy, and leveraging its group buying power to achieve efficiencies.

In animal care, Ebos aims to expand into veterinary wholesale in New Zealand, build its market presence in Australia and also leverage on its group buying scale.

(BusinessDesk)