Evolve Education Group, the childcare operator, turned to a profit in its latest year, although earnings undershot the target in its 2014 prospectus.

Profit was $15.6 million in the 12 months ended March 31, from a loss of $8.1 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Total expenses were $116.7 million, compared with a prospectus forecast of $110.8 million. Revenue jumped to $139 million, ahead of its prospectus forecast, from $32.9 million. The childcare operator anticipated profit of $16.6 million.

Evolve acquired 20 childcare centres in the latest year, bringing its total at March 31 to 106.

The company said acquisition costs of $1.2 million and integration costs of $700,000 were incurred and expensed in the latest year and excluding that one-time cost, profit was $16.8 million, beating its prospectus target. The newly acquired centres would contribute earnings without those associated costs in 2017, it said.

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The company will pay a final dividend of 2.38 cents a share, fully imputed, bringing the total payment for the year to 4.76 cents. The record date is June 8 and the payment date June 20.

Evolve shares last traded at $1.04 and have gained 5.1 per cent in the past 12 months. They sold in the initial public offering at $1 apiece.