Pharmacybrands profit jumps

03:14, May 22 2012

The operator of the Unichem, Amcal, Life Pharmacy, Radius and Care Chemist pharmacy franchises has announced a 93 per cent increase in annual profit.

Pharmacybrands Limited posted a net profit of $9.9 million for the twelve months to March 31, up from $5.2m last year.

The result includes the Radius Pharmacy business which the company acquired in April 2011, and 10 months' trading of the Radius Medical business which it bought in June.

Operating revenues were $105.5m, up from $19.1m in 2011.

The company had performed well and grown significantly in a challenging retail and investment environment, chairman Peter Merton said.

The company's directors have declared a conditional dividend of 3.5 cents per share, but also want to introduce a reinvestment plan.

''While the group has enjoyed strong cash generation over the twelve months..., the board wishes to retain funds sufficient to allow it to maintain the flexibility to pursue potential acquisitions and other opportunities to expand in what remains a relatively small NZX company,'' Merton said.

The dividend is conditional on shareholders approving the two major shareholders taking part in the dividend reinvestment plan.

Cape Healthcare and LPL Trustee each have a 30.4 per cent stake in Pharmacybrands. Under the Takeovers Code the other shareholders must approve their involvement. Shareholders will vote on the proposal at the company's annual general meeting in August.

Pharmacybrands Limited has 305 retail outlets around the country including 139 Unichem Pharmacies, 79 Amcal Pharmacies, 26 Life Pharmacies, 2 Life Outlet stores, 26 Care Chemist Pharmacies and 33 Radius Pharmacies.

Its medical group comprises five medical centres, a property associate and medical services business and includes Radius and The Doctors brands.

During the year its pharmacies saw 2.2 per cent same store growth and a 3.1 per cent improvement in dispensary sales, the company said.

The full year result included $600,000 of costs associated with the Radius acquisitions and an $800,000 increase in bad and doubtful debts.

The group had invested in developing new services, chief executive Alan Wham said.

''The company has worked with the Ministry of Health to achieve a national agreement that enables our pharmacists to deliver flu vaccinations,'' he said.

''We succeeded in having medicines that were previously prescription-only rescheduled so that they can now be given with a pharmacist's recommendation. This increases consumer access to medicines and provides pharmacists with opportunities for additional service revenues.''