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AWF Group expects strong annual profit growth

Wednesday 25th July 2012

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Contract labour company AWF Group expects strong profit growth this year, managing director Mike Huddleston told the annual shareholders' meeting.

"We have budgeted to continue to grow strongly and we are hitting our targets at present with no significant signs of weakness," Huddleston said.

"We are well on the way through winter and are pleased to confirm that we are much more seasonally resilient than we once were," he said.

AWF's annual net profit for the year ended March 31 fell 19 percent to $2.6 million because of non-cash write-downs. Underlying earnings rose 27 percent.

Huddleston said the company doesn't have any specific targets for further geographic growth now it is well represented across the country but does see potential for further acquisitions.

"The group in its present shape is far from mature and we believe that there remains plenty of potential for development within our existing businesses," he said.

AWF's strategy of broadening its scope from providing blue-collar labourers into providing higher-skilled staff "has delivered" and it intends to continue developing into sectors where it is either not present or not strong.

"Such sectors may include customer service and call centre staff, white collar temporary and potentially white collar permanent staff," Huddleston said.

"Entry to such a large sector, which could bring volume sufficient to double our present business, is unlikely to be by way of a cold startup."

In the past couple of years, AWF has bought a number of new businesses, Panacea Healthcare, Nursing New Zealand, the Waihi-based AWF Mourant gold mining operations, and Tradeforce NZ which provides skilled temporary staff to manufacturers, warehouses and food processors.

AWF shares are 1 cent lower at $2.52, off their high last month at $2.70. The shares have been trending higher from $1.78 at last year's annual shareholders' meeting.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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