Bay of Plenty honey and health products company Comvita today announced a net profit after tax of $18.5 million on sales of $231 million.
This compares to the unaudited result of an NPAT of $17.2 million on sales of $202 million reported to the market in the 12 month period to March 2016. The company announced earlier this year that it was shifting to a June year balance date.
"It is important to note that as advised on 10 May 2016, we expected the 15 month operating result to 30 June 2016 to be similar to the result reported for the 12 months to 31 March 2016 of $17.2m, " said Comvita chairman Neil Craig.
"After adjusting our reported and audited NPAT to 30 June 2016 of $18.5 million for favourable non-operating changes in fair value of assets, primarily Derma Sciences and SeaDragon, it is pleasing to have delivered $17.1 million against this guidance."
Mr Craig said Comvita continued to be focused on growing earnings per share from the solid business base that had been established over the last 10 years.
EBITDA margin for the 15 month period was 17.1 per cent and return on capital employed was 14.3 per cent, which represented good performance growth compared to the prior year's figures of 15 percent and 12 per cent respectively, he said.
Comvita paid a fully imputed second interim dividend of 10 cents per share on 24 June 2016, for those shares registered on 17 June 2016. This brought the total interim dividend for the 12 month period to 16 cents per share (compared with 13 cents per share in 2015). With the change in balance date to 30 June, a final dividend of two cents per share will be paid on 23 September 2016, bringing the total payment to 18 cents per share for those shares registered on 16 September 2016.
The payout ratio for the 15 month period is approximately 42 per cent of operating profit. This is lower than Comvita's previously adopted 50 per cent of after tax operating profits.
With the growth opportunities being presented to Comvita on an ongoing basis, the board had decided to change the dividend payment policy to 40-45 per cent of after tax operating profits, the company said.
Comvita chief executive Scott Coulter said sales of $130 million were recorded in Australia and New Zealand over the last 15 months, driven by the re-export market to China.
"Australia is now our largest market with sales of $74 million over the last 15 months and has contributed significantly to our result."
China sales grew strongly and in particular sales through the various e-commerce platforms and the 400 branded retail outlets operated by our dedicated Chinese distribution partner. Comvita supplies all of the major E-commerce platforms in China.
"We are focused on the delivery of $400 million of sales in five years' time and solid growth in earnings per share over this period," said Mr Coulter.
The two key building blocks of our strategy were security of supply and new product innovation, he added.