Another record profit for Ryman Healthcare

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 10:24 15/05/2014

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Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare marked its 30th birthday with another record profit, as it pushes further into the Australian market.

The Christchurch-based company said the annual net profit of $195 million was up from $136.7m in the year to March 31, 2013, and was boosted by valuation gains on its properties.

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

"It's another standout result for us thanks to some strong earnings growth from our new villages," chairman David Kerr said.

"It is a great way to mark our 30th birthday and to thank the investors who've backed us for all these years.

"We're pleased to be able to increase our final dividend to investors by 18 per cent to match the rise in underlying profits."

Ryman has lifted its underlying profit for 12 years in a row, and has exceeded its medium term target of growing underlying profits by 15 per cent a year.

The year's highlights included welcoming the first residents into the Weary Dunlop Retirement Village in Melbourne this month, Kerr said.

The Melbourne village is Ryman's first in Australia.

"We're also pleased to have bought another site in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne," he said.

"We're still learning about Australia but our experience so far has exceeded our expectations and given us the confidence to expand.".

The growth in retirement-village earnings was funding extra investment into care for residents, he said.

Ryman had increased wages for care staff, put in more training resources and increased staff numbers.

Ryman shareholders will receive a final dividend of 6.2 cents a share to be paid on June 20, taking the total for the year to 11.8c a share. The record date for entitlements is June 6.

Ryman's operating cashflows reached record levels at $238 million, up 7 per cent from the year before.

The company acquired six new sites in New Zealand during the year, extending its landbank to just under 4000 beds and units.

As a result Ryman raised its build-rate target, and aimed to be building 850 beds and units a year in New Zealand by 2017.

The Bruce McLaren Retirement Village in the Auckland suburb of Howick was on target to open later this year, and work was due to start on a new village in Petone, Lower Hutt, after it gained consent.

Planning consent had been lodged for a new village at Birkenhead in Auckland, and Ryman had also unveiled plans to build a new village on a Devonport site.

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Ryman owns and operates 27 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia. The villages are home to 7500 residents, and the company employs 3500 staff.

- The Press

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