Abano posts flat result
After emerging from a bitter boardroom battle last month, dentistry group Abano Healthcare has reported flat results from its core business across the Tasman.
The relatively weak Australian dollar had affected profits at its Dental Partners unit in Australia, the company said, dragging gross revenue down by $14.3 million compared to its level at the previous year's exchange rate.
Net profit for the year to May 31 was $4.9m, up from $2.9m a year earlier. The main contributor to the gain was Abano's 50 per cent share of hearing aid business Bay Audio in Australia, which reduced its loss from $5.8m to $2.2m.
Abano's joint venture partner in Bay is Peter Hutson, who was behind an abortive attempt to take over Abano last year and a failed effort to unseat company chairman Trevor Janes at a special meeting in May.
A spokesman for Hutson declined to comment on the result.
Announcing the result, Abano directors declared a final dividend of 13.7c, contributing to a full year dividend total of 21c, the same as a year earlier.
The company said the biggest driver of revenue growth was its dentistry business, and it would continue to focus on growth through acquisition.
''We continued to invest into building strong dental organisations with ongoing investment into appropriate infrastructures to support our two very large dental networks. In Australia, a number of new senior management appointments have been made, including, in recent days, a full time marketing manager in readiness for a roll-out of branding and consumer marketing strategies later in [financial year] 2015.''
Overall results for dentistry were relatively flat, with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $20.9m compared to $20m the previous year. Net revenue for the segment grew $4m to $157m.
Revenue and earnings for Abano's diagnostics segment were also flat at $43m and $7.8m respectively, while audiology revenue grew $6m to $31.6m.
The company said economic conditions in New Zealand were slowly improving but remained difficult in Australia.
''Our operational focus is firmly on lifting year on year same store performance for both our audiology and dental businesses.''
The coming year's underlying profits were expected to improve, the company said.
''Directors are reviewing the dividend policy and expect to implement a new policy for the FY15 interim dividend following the steady growth achieved in our net profit after tax and underlying earnings.''
Abano shares closed at $6.15, up 9c on the day.
* Some figures in paragraphs two and three of this article have been corrected.