Corporate earnings took a mauling over the reporting season, but it hasn't all been red ink.
Many companies more than held their own while others clocked up big profit increases.
Aside from aviation and tourism sectors, which bore the brunt of anti Covid-19 measures, analysts said the reporting season for those June 30 reporting stocks was better than expected.
Even so, annual results only captured three months of Covid-affected trading.
"It's been clear which stocks have benefited from Covid and which stocks have been ripped in half by Covid," Jarden analyst Adrian Allbon said.
As expected, Auckland International Airport and Air New Zealand were severely affected by border closures and lockdown measures.
The airport's after-tax profit plunged 63 per cent to $193.9 million on a 53 per cent fall in operating earnings.
Chairman Patrick Strange said the past six months had been the most challenging of Auckland Airport's 54-year history.
Covid-19 wiped out Air NZ's first-half result, and statutory losses before taxation, which include $541m of other significant items, were $628m, compared to earnings of $382m last year. The after-tax loss came to $454m.
Ironically, one of the season's bigger loss makers - Vista Group - enjoyed the strongest share price rally over August, when most results were reported.
Non-cash credit charges and credit provisions took the cinema software company to a loss for the six months to June of $43.2m, yet the stock shot up by almost 45 per cent over the month.
Clearly, the market was expecting much worse.
Also in the better-than-expected camp was Summerset, which reported a bottom-line profit of just $1m, from last year's profit of $92.6m.
Summerset's share price has also been firm, post result.
F&P Healthcare did not actually report, but it did issue a $100m earnings upgrade on the back of Covid-driven demand.
The expected closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter in August loomed large over most of the power generators - the exception being the North Island-centric Mercury.
"Their earnings outlooks were opaque, as expected, because of the binary outcomes that could potentially occur," said one analyst.
Analysts rated results from Skellerup, Mercury, EBOS and Port of Tauranga highly.
Mark Lister, head of private wealth research at Craigs Investment Partners, said for the most part, stocks came through better than expected - even the ones that did it tough.
"It was still an ugly reporting season compared with previous years, but compared to expectations it wasn't too bad," Lister said.
As always, analysts were on the lookout for meaningful "outlook" statements as to how companies might fare in the year ahead.
For the most part, they came up empty-handed.
"Not a lot of businesses have got certainty. Some have, but most have not," Lister said.
Dividends, in these days of ultra-low interest rates, come into sharper focus.
"We have seen a lot of companies either reduce, or suspend dividends - companies you would usually see as reliable dividend payers."
Some dividends were scrapped altogether, others were reduced and some were lifted.
Mānuka honey company Comvita and NZME - publisher of the New Zealand Herald - talked about paying dividends again after a hiatus, which Lister said could be taken as a sign of confidence.
But few are under any illusions as to what lies ahead, as economic activity rapidly contracts as a result of Covid-19.
Across the Tasman, GDP shrank by 7 per cent in the June quarter - the biggest contraction since records began in 1959.
S&P Global Ratings said significant damage from Covid-19 would unfold across many Australian and New Zealand companies over the next few months.
"The fallout from the pandemic has yet to fully play out across the Australian and New Zealand corporate landscape," S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Richard Timbs said.
"We believe more pain is likely in companies' earnings amid the weakest macroeconomic environments in decades," Timbs said in a report.
"What's more, Covid-19 has driven or accelerated structural trends in a number of sectors, such as discretionary retail, that will potentially wipe out chances of a full recovery for some companies."
Government stimulus measures would remain a key "swing" factor in the recovery, S&P said.
"Nonetheless, we believe that worsening credit quality and defaults in the small and medium enterprise sector are likely to accelerate as these support mechanisms are removed," Timbs said.
"Indeed, we expect defaults to increase from a limited level so far."
How they fared
Refining NZ went $186.4m into the red over the first half to June 30 because of sharply lower margins and throughput.
Summerset Group's bottom-line profit plummeted 99 per cent from last year's $92.6m to just $1m.
NZX said its net profit shot up by 40.9 per cent to $9.1m in the six months to June 30, reflecting a significant increase in demand for capital and an unprecedented lift in share trading during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Precinct Properties' operating income rose in the past year but net profit after tax fell because of devaluations from the pandemic, particularly on big inner-city Auckland office blocks.
Contact Energy said its net profit fell by 26 per cent to $125m in the year to June, in part because of lower wholesale power prices.
Vital Healthcare, a hospital, healthcare and medical property specialist, said its net profit fell 37 per cent to $58m.
Mercury Energy has kept the faith with thousands of its mum and dad investors by eking out an increased final dividend for the June year and predicting another increase in the payout in year ahead.
Fletcher Building won't pay a dividend and executive bonus packages were cut to zero after all divisional revenue and operating earnings fell in the past year.
Michael Hill said its full-year profit plunged more than 80 per cent as the Covid-19 pandemic forced its stores to remain closed between five and 13 weeks.
A2 Milk said its net profit hit a record $385.8m in the June year but the company has a problem; what to do with its cash mountain.
Genesis Energy said its earnings fell because of poor hydro conditions, but the company slightly increased its dividend despite the uncertainty posed by the planned closure of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter.
Auckland Airport said its net profit plunged 63 per cent to $193.9m. Chairman Patrick Strange said the past six months had been the most challenging of the airport's 54-year history.
Ebos, the Australasian distributor of healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical products, posted a net profit after tax of A$162m, up 18 per cent.
Skellerup said its net profit came to $29.1m in the June year, level with the previous year's, despite Covid-19 disruption.
Chorus confirmed once it put the capital-intensive UFB rollout behind it in a couple of years, free cash flow would increase - and the majority of it would be paid in dividends.
Freightways said disruption arising from Covid-19 meant it would not pay a final dividend for the first time ever.
Comvita, after years of underperformance, said it had turned the corner.
NZME boosted its interim net profit and underlying earnings despite revenue taking a hit from the impacts of Covid-19.
Meridian said its operating earnings - ebitdaf - rose 2 per cent to $854m in the June year, driven by record generation and retail sales growth in New Zealand and Australia.
Metlifecare said property revaluations reflecting valuer caution because of Covid-19's economic impact drove it to a bottom-line loss of $33.7m.
Spark reported across-the-board full-year growth despite the pandemic - but also warned that Covid-19 could hit harder next year.
Scales reported net profit of $27.8m for the six months to June 30, significantly down on the $121.8m for the same period a year ago.
Air New Zealand does not expect passenger demand to return to last year's level until 2023 at the earliest and it faces continued losses next year. The airline reported a 264 per cent hit to after-tax profit to record a loss of $454m in the year to June 30 - and that included more than seven months of largely normal operations. The loss is its first in 18 years.
NZ King Salmon held operating earnings within guidance despite its sales revenue falling by 50 per cent during the level 4 lockdown response to Covid-19.
Vista shares rallied sharply despite the company going deeply into the red over the first half. Non-cash credit charges and credit provisions of $36.1m and the impact of Covid-19 drove Vista to a loss for the six months to June of $43.2m - a 1154 per cent deterioration.
Port of Tauranga posted group net profit of $90m and increased container volumes, despite the pandemic storm that lashed global shipping and trade in the final months of its financial year.
Delegats posted an almost $61m net profit after tax in the 12 months to June 30 - a new record following a record $50.8m posted a year earlier.
Cannasouth said its operating loss widened in the six months to June 30 but the company said its result was in line with its business plan.
Sky City said its net profit fell 60 per cent to $66.2m and that it will not pay a final dividend.
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