Nuplex annual earnings growth stalled

Nuplex Industries CEO Emery Severin. Photo / Natalie Slade
Nuplex Industries CEO Emery Severin. Photo / Natalie Slade

Nuplex Industries' full-year earnings growth stalled, meeting its guidance, as the contribution from newly acquired Viverso and improved resin margins made up for falling volumes and the impact of a high kiwi dollar. The stock climbed on the news.

The specialty chemicals company reported earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $131 million in the 12 months ended June 30, little changed from a year earlier.

Net profit fell 6 per cent to $62.5 million as sales rose 2.6 per cent to $1.6 billion.

Nuplex ramped up its gearing in the latest year to 28 per cent from 12 per cent as it debt funded the acquisition of German resin maker Viverso and the Masterbatch operations of Acquos in Australia. Viverso contributed six months of ebitda in the latest year amounting to $10.4 million, which exceeded Nuplex's estimate.

"To deliver earnings in line with the prior year is a credible result considering the softer market conditions experienced in Asia and Europe and the particularly tough trading conditions faced in Australia and New Zealand," chief executive Emery Severin said in a statement.

Excluding Viverso, ebitda fell 8 per cent in the latest year.

Nuplex didn't give explicit guidance for the 2013 year, saying earnings would benefit from its two-year NuLeap review of its businesses, full-year contribution from Viverso, new capacity in Vietnam and an estimated A$5 million contribution from Masterbatch in Australia.

The shares rose 1.9 per cent to $2.72, heading for the highest close in more than three months. The stock is rated a 'hold' based on five recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a price target of $2.50.

Reported profit beat the $59.6 million forecast of Forsyth Barr analyst John Cairns. Nuplex will pay a final dividend of 11 cents a share, unchanged from the previous year.

The NuLeap program $14 million in incremental benefits, beating the company's $10 million estimate.

"We has a strong second half as a result of improved unit margins in our global resin segment, the delivery of greater than expected NuLeap benefits and the first six months earnings contribution from Viverso," Severin said. "Combined these factors offset the impact of lower volumes in our global resin segment and the stronger New Zealand dollar."

- BusinessDesk

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