Retirement village builder and operator Ryman Healthcare says first quarter trading is ahead of last year and it plans to build its 28th retirement village, in Petone in the Hutt Valley.

"We have reviewed the first quarter's trading and I'm pleased to advise that we are trading well and ahead of last year," chairman David Kerr told the annual shareholders' meeting.

The company reported a record underlying net profit of $84 million for the year ended March 31, up 17 per cent, and unrealised valuation gains boosted the bottom line to $121 million.

Ryman is currently building 700 retirement units and aged care beds a year.


Kerr said the new 3.3ha site which was once the Petone High School will be developed into a village providing the full continuum of care from independent and serviced apartments to rest-home, hospital and dementia care facilities.

"It's a magnificent site for a village on the flat overlooking the Hutt River and surrounded by reserves on three sides ..." Kerr said.

Lower Hutt is under-serviced by aged care facilities relative to other New Zealand cities, the company said.

"The NZ government has recognised the need for an additional 12,000 to 20,000 care beds to meet the projected growth in demand over the next 15 years," it said.

Ryman at present operates 24 villages nationwide and expects to start building a Melbourne village in the next few months.

Ryman's shares closed up 1.7 per cent yesterday at $3.66.