Ryman celebrate record profit

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 08:19 16/05/2014

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Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare wants to open one new Australian retirement home each year from 2017, having just bought its second site in Melbourne.

Christchurch-based Ryman marked its 30th birthday yesterday with another record profit, as it pushes further into the Australian retirement market.

It has bought a second site to complement its existing development at Wheelers Hill, Melbourne, which has already signed up nearly 100 residents.

Managing director Simon Challies said the second site was still subject to confidentiality conditions. "It will be large enough to build a typical Ryman village of 400 residents, [and] it will be apartment style . . . it will take at least two years to get to the spot where we open the second village, and you can expect us to be looking for further sites during that time."

That search would eventually translate to one new village a year from 2017.

New Zealand builds tended to take two to three years from the purchase of land, but builds in Australia would take at least an extra six months on top of that guideline, Challies said.

NZX-listed Ryman yesterday reported an annual net profit of $195 million, up from $136.7m in the year to March 31, 2013, boosted by $85.1m valuation gains on its properties and business.

Ryman said an "underlying profit" of $118m, excluding the revaluations of property, up 18 per cent from $100.2m in the previous year, was thanks to a buoyant property market and strong demand for retirement-village living.

Grant Williamson, a director of brokerage Hamilton Hindin Greene, said it was a very solid result for a well-managed company, with the Australian progress a highlight.

While Ryman's shares had fallen after the announcement, this was not an issue and it followed buying ahead of the result.

Ryman shares closed 18 cents, or 2 per cent, lower at $8.70.

Chairman David Kerr said this month the first residents had been welcomed into Melbourne's Weary Dunlop site. A care facility in the village was due to open in July.

Challies said Ryman should have its second eastern suburbs Melbourne village completed in a couple of years.

The company was still learning about operating in Australia, including overcoming challenges within the construction, regulatory and industrial relations areas.

From 2017 in Australia, Ryman would be looking to complete about 250 beds and units a year.

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