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Comvita posts 15-month profit of $18.5m

NZN 22/08/2016 By Jonathan Underhill

Comvita, the manuka honey products company, posted a 15-month profit that broadly met its guidance while lowering its dividend payout ratio to chase "growth opportunities".

Profit was $18.5 million in the 15 months ended June 30, after Comvita changed its balance date, from $10.2m in the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, the Te Puke-based company said in a statement.

Comvita reported profit of $17.2m in the 12 months ended March 31, 2016, and had said that as the April-June quarter was typically Comvita's quietest the 15-month result was likely to be in line with the 12 months to March 31.

Chairman Neil Craig said that after adjusting "for favourable non-operating changes in fair value of assets, primarily Derma Sciences and SeaDragon, it is pleasing to have delivered $17.1m against this guidance."

Sales were $231m in the latest 15 months, from $153m in the March 31, 2015, 12-month period.

Comvita paid a fully imputed second interim dividend of 10 cents per share on June 24, bringing total interim payments to 16 cents from 13 cents a year earlier.

Chief executive Scott Coulter said Comvita has "experienced softer trading conditions as a result of the slowdown in demand in the Chinese market."

"This has been caused by a reduction in growth in the Chinese economy itself, as well as the introduction of a number of new regulations in that market" he said.

Asia was Comvita's biggest market in the latest period, account for $75m, or 33 per cent of sales, just ahead of Australia on $74m, or 32 per cent. New Zealand sales accounted for 25 per cent at $57m, followed by the US at $14m, or 6 per cent, and Europe at $10m, or 4 per cent.

Comvita shares rose 2.1 per cent to $10.37 and have jumped 26 per cent this year.

BusinessDesk bsh

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