Comvita posts half-year loss

LAURA WALTERS
Last updated 10:55 28/11/2013

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The negative impact of the seasonal nature of Comvita's sales has led to the company posting a half-year net loss of $800,000.

The listed natural health and beauty company's 132.4 per cent, or $2 million, drop in net profit for the half-year was in line with guidance from the company last month.

Comvita reported sales revenue for the half-year to September 30 of $43.4m, a drop of 4.6 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said the company historically had a year of two profit halves, with the second-half sales and earnings stronger than the first.

This discrepancy between the reporting periods was due to its products mainly being consumed in the northern hemisphere winter months, he said.

The effect was compounded by Asian tourists buying Comvita's products in New Zealand and Australia during the peak tourism season in the kiwi summer, Hewlett said.

"As we grow our retail infrastructure in Asia and with the Australian market continuing to be quite soft, the effect of this year of two halves is becoming more pronounced," he said.

However, shareholders should not read too much into the company's first-half result.

Comvita expected more than 60 per cent of its sales to come in the second half of the financial year, Hewlett said.

Comvita chairman Neil Craig said the company expected to post an annual net profit of $7.4m for the year to March 31.

The company said it would maintain its interim dividend of 4 cents a share, to be paid on December 20.

However, the dividend-reinvestment plan would not apply.

Comvita's shares last traded at $3.65, 2.7 per cent lower than a year ago.

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- Fairfax Media

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