New Zealand's biggest listed retirement business has scrapped its profit and build rate guidance in response to yesterday's Government announcement that the country was moving to Level 4 on the Covid-19 alert system.

Ryman Healthcare - with 36 villages here and in Australia, 11,600 residents and 5700 staff - said today it is "withdrawing previously communicated profit and build rate guidance."

In November, Ryman forecast full-year underlying profit to rise 10-17 per cent after a 6.2 per cent increase in the first-half. The actual bottom line first-half profit jumped 11.1 per cent as its property values rose and with record resales.

The retirement village operator said in November that the stronger second-half results would reflect its accelerating building rate, with full-year underlying profit expected to be $250-265m, up from $227 million last year.

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Ryman had 22 sites in a land bank, of which 10 had development under way, it said last year. Once its had completed the then-planned development, it would have more than 20,000 people in its villages, it forecast previously.

But today, Ryman pulled all that and said all its New Zealand building sites were being shut down.

"We anticipate ceasing construction in New Zealand within the next 36 hours while restrictions on people's movements are in place," today's announcement said.

But Ryman also stressed that its villages and hospitals would continue to operate "as an essential service for older people and our teams are committed to providing our residents with the best of care possible during this emergency."

Ryman said occupation rights sales would be significantly restricted in the coming weeks and that it was conscious that older people would require its services and care.

"Accordingly we will continue to admit new residents to our care centres and retirement villages during this period so older people who need or wish to access our services can," it said.

Extensive infection control and pandemic plans were in place and it would provide further information.

Ryman announced this week it was temperature checking visitors and other listed retirement owner-operators also issued statements about infection control measures.

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NZX-listed Summerset Group, with 28 villages throughout New Zealand, said yesterday it had scaled up pandemic responses by posting security guards and further restricting access to its network of homes and hospitals for the elderly.

The business which accommodates thousands of residents said its measures included "posting of security staff and closure of physical gates to restrict and screen visitors".

It is now screening those who can come in, has activated mandatory declaration processes and said it has automatic gates on all its road and pedestrian entrances to villages which provided robust security and protection.


Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website