Ebos net profit up

Christchurch's Ebos Group says it has opportunities for further growth after bedding down the large Australian acquisition of Symbion and reporting an improvement in its annual result.

Ebos today reported an annual net profit of $29.5 million up from $27.95m reported in the year to June 30, 2012.

The company said the improvement in bottom line came even after a significantly higher tax charge. The result also excluded Symbion June results and one-off transaction costs.

Including the Symbion contribution, Ebos reported a net profit of $28.2m up from $27.95m.

Ebos said its tax expense increased by 71 per cent to $14m compared to $8.15 million a year earlier.

This reflected the non-deductibility of certain Symbion acquisition costs and a low taxation charge in the previous year arising from one-off tax benefit in connection with the acquisition of Masterpet.

Symbion is a pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor which Ebos recently bought from the Swiss Zuellig family, while Masterpet is an animal health business.

Ebos managing director Mark Waller said the acquisition of Symbion's complementary business in Australia with effect from June 1 meant that Ebos was now the largest diversified Australasian marketer, wholesaler and distributor of healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical products, and a leading Australasian animal-care products distributor.

"It is a position of significant strategic strength creating opportunities to further assist our customers," he said.

Including 18 days trading for Symbion, group revenues for the financial year to June 30 rose to 27.6 per cent to $1.823 billion from $1.428 billion reported in 2012.

Excluding the short trading period for Symbion and one-off transaction costs, the results for the group reflected another year of strong performance that beat forecast, Waller said.

"Earnings directly attributable to the business (earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation) grew ahead of forecast and rose 14.4 per cent over the previous financial year to $53.6 million, driven by the inclusion of the first full year of trading by Masterpet, a strong performance across all the NZ healthcare businesses and by competitive positioning in Australia," he said.

Shareholders will receive a partially imputed final dividend for the 2013 financial year of 15 cents a share payable on October 22.

Waller said the first few weeks trading of the 2014 financial year had been in line with expectations.

This gave the group confidence that financial performance would be consistent with the forecasts for the six months to December 31 contained in a prospectus released in June 2013.

"Now that approximately three quarters of the group's earnings are denominated in Australian dollars, reported results will be subject to currency fluctuations."

Chairman Rick Christie said work was underway to facilitate the dual listing of the group's shares on the ASX.

This afternoon Ebos shares were trading unchanged at $9.70.

Fairfax Media