Ryman Healthcare spent $50 million on its pandemic response to protect residents and staff, despite no Covid among 12,000 residents and 6100 staff.
Since January, that has been the cost to the Christchurch-headquartered Australasian retirement village developer and owner, which is New Zealand's biggest business in the listed sector.
As a result, first-half profit fell 14.2 per cent to $88.4m.
The company's investor presentation carried this line: "$50m investment in Covid-19 measures since January 2020."
Chief executive Gordon MacLeod said the pandemic had increased costs and restricted sales and construction activity in key markets.
But with lockdowns coming off in Victoria and a buoyant housing market here, the company was expecting conditions to improve in the second half, and it had a record number of new villages in the pipeline to take advantage of the recovery.
"It has been a tough six months due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, which increased costs substantially and restricted our ability to sell in key markets during the extended lockdowns," MacLeod said.
"While there is likely to be some ongoing uncertainty due to the pandemic, there is clearly a lot of pent-up demand in the housing market and we are in a good position to continue to invest heavily in new homes and jobs.
"We are anticipating cash collections of at least $275m in the second half from new sales. With 12 villages in progress and more on the way, we will be creating more than 2000 jobs as well as homes and care for more than 4000 residents."
The profit is for the half-year from April to September 2020.
Reported net profit rose from $188.3m in the half-year to September 2019 to $212.4m in the latest half-year. Unrealised valuations on investment properties also rose $70.9m from $92.7m to $124.1m.
Total assets now stand at $8.34 billion, up 14.9 per cent. Ryman has a 'resales bank' of $945m which it said underpinned future growth and market resilience. It didn't say this, but its resales happen when people get sick or die and have to leave the Ryman properties they occupy, meaning the business has a massive potential turnover from that activity.
Ryman makes around a 20 to 30 per cent development margin when it builds new villages - a massive uplift in value, and the difference between the cost of building and end valuations.
It says it is now building across 12 sites, up from just four two years ago.
Shares are trading around $15.50, giving a market capitalisation of $7.7b. The price fell sharply in March when the pandemic struck, falling as low as $6.60. Shares have traded as high at $17 earlier this year.
By April, shares were back at $10.
But the share price has risen steadily since, as the listed retirement sector reported a lockdown of all villages and residents to fight the pandemic, strong interest from buyers and house prices spiralling.
On August 13, shareholders at Ryman's online annual meeting heard from chairman David Kerr that the pandemic had actually "reinforced the attraction of living in our villages where residents enjoy security, companionship and a strong sense of community".
Only around 43,000 New Zealanders live in retirement villages, according to an annual study from real estate specialists JLL.
In the full year, Ryman's audited underlying profit was $242m, up 6.6 per cent driven by strong demand at new villages.
The reported, or IFRS, profit was down 19 per cent to $265m due to Covid-19 related property valuation changes.
Ryman has hit community opposition with some of its plans lately.
Kohimarama residents want Auckland Council to reject a $150m Ryman Healthcare retirement village plan which they say breaches height limits by more than double and acts as a warning to all Aucklanders.
Ryman plans in Melbourne's Coburg drew opposition from local Peter Robertson who said its application for a big new village there had lapsed due to inaction. Ryman in return denies that and says it needs to start by next February and it would seek an extension.