Ryman Healthcare is forecasting at least 9 per cent full-year earnings growth as it expands its retirement village operations on both sides of the Tasman.

The company is projecting underlying profit of $223 million to $238 million for the year through March, up from $203.5m in the prior period.

Ryman today reported that first-half underlying profit, which strips out changes in property valuations, rose almost 14 per cent to $97.1m.

Net profit for the six months through September fell 16.3 per cent to $169.5m, reflecting a year-earlier boost to the value of its retirement villages.


Ryman says the value of its properties were little changed in the latest six months from a year earlier.

Ryman operates 33 properties in New Zealand, including two in Melbourne. It is building another nine in New Zealand and seven in Victoria.

The company said the underlying result was driven by strong development margins, particularly from its second village in Melbourne.

"We've had another solid first-half result as new villages have come on stream and we have a great pipeline of villages to develop," chair David Kerr said in a statement.

"Demand for our new villages is strong with the highest ever value of contracts for new units sold off plan going into the second half," Kerr says.

"We're in a strong financial position to support our care ambitions; net assets passed the $2 billion mark and we invested a record $304 million in new and existing villages in the first half."

The firm's latest site in Victoria, the 3.7 hectare Ocean Grove site is on the Bellarine Peninsula overlooking Bass Strait.

It is a popular holiday destination and a half-hour drive from Geelong where Ryman is also planning to build a new village.


Ryman has lifted its first-half dividend by 13.7 per cent to 10.8 cents per share.

Its shares closed at $11.50 on Thursday. They are up about 25 per cent in the past 12 months but down from the record $14.09 reached earlier this year.