Hellaby posts 30pc profit plunge

By Sophie Boot

‘FY 2016 was a difficult year and not one we expect to be repeated’.
Alan Clarke, chief executive of Hellaby Holdings, expects a stronger 2017 performance. Picture / Martin Sykes
Alan Clarke, chief executive of Hellaby Holdings, expects a stronger 2017 performance. Picture / Martin Sykes

Hellaby Holdings, the diversified investment group, posted a 30 per cent fall in profit as restructuring under new chief executive Alan Clarke continues.

Net profit dropped to $19.6 million, or 20.4c per share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $28.4m, or 28.6c per share, a year earlier, the company said. Revenue rose 2 per cent to $795.5m.

In May, Hellaby cut its guidance, and forecast earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation at $43m to $47m in the year, down from $59m in 2015. Yesterday's result was in line with that forecast with trading ebitda of $46.8m.

"FY 2016 was a difficult year and not one we expect to be repeated," Clarke said. "We do expect to see a stronger performance in FY 2017 as our new strategic plan takes effect and we focus on building scale and market share in our automotive and resource services groups."

The company has been overhauling its portfolio and investment strategy under Clarke, who took over the reins last November, to exit non-core businesses and focus on its automotive and resource services units.

In June, Hellaby sold its equipment group to a private equity fund for $81m and bought maintenance and engineering contractor TBS Group for $45m plus $6m of earn-outs. Neither transaction was recognised in these results.

Hellaby said the result reflected volatility in the oil and gas sector on its resource services group, and decreasing sales from the footwear group. The company has been trying to sell the footwear division, but will now appoint specialist retail consultants to restructure the business, which Hellaby expects will improve the unit from 2018. However, footwear will remain non-core, it said.

Clarke said there were growth opportunities for Hellaby's automotive group in the Australasian auto-electrical sector and it will consider other acquisitions, while it sees cost-saving opportunities from integrating TBS Group with the resource services division.

"Continuing volatility in the oil and gas sector is impacting on our clients in this industry and we expect uncertainty and depressed earnings in contract resources' international businesses to continue in the near term," Clarke said. "Management are focused on generating more stable earnings streams to balance our high margin but more volatile specialist refinery shutdown work."

The board declared a final dividend of 12.5c per share, with a September 23 record date, payable on September 30. That takes the annual payout to 21.5c.

- BusinessDesk

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