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Ebos meets prospectus forecast with 5.5 percent gain in FY profit

Tuesday 20th August 2013

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Ebos Group, which has been 40 percent owned by Zuellig Group since issuing shares to the Hong Kong-based investor as part of its $1.1 billion purchase of Symbion, posted a 5.5 percent gain in annual profit, meeting its prospectus forecast.

Net profit rose to $28.2 million, or 52.9 cents a share, in the 12 months ended June 30, from $27.9 million, or 27.9 cents, a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement. Sales rose 28 percent to $1.82 billion. Excluding Symbion, profit was $29.5 million, meeting the forecast in the prospectus for its Symbion capital raising.

The latest year included a full 12 month contribution from Masterpet, acquired in December 2011 for $105 million plus debt in a deal that gave Ebos a suite of brands including Procter & Gamble pet care, Eukanuba and IAMS pet food, and the Vitapet grocery brand.

It topped that deal this year by buying Zuellig's Australian pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor, Symbion, an acquisition that will more than triple annual revenues and make it a major player across Australasia.

"The Symbion acquisition is a game changer," chief executive Mark Waller said in the statement. "We have strong market positions with excellent systems and management in all our businesses in Australia and New Zealand, with opportunities for further growth."

Healthcare generated sales of $1.65 billion in the latest year, up from $1.3 billion a year earlier, while profit edged up to $30.9 million from $26 million. Animal care sales rose to $169.5 million from $86.3 million in its first full year, lifting earnings to $12.6 million from $8.9 million.

Ebos shares were unchanged at $9.70 and have climbed 34 percent this year. The stock is rated a 'buy' based on the consensus of two analysts polled by Reuters.

The company will pay a final dividend of 15 cents on Oct. 22, making 32.5 cents for the year, up from 31.5 cents a year earlier. It aims to pay out 60 percent to 70 percent of normalised profit.

Ebos said trading was in line with expectations in the first few weeks of the 2014 year and the company is confident of meeting its prospectus forecasts for the six months ending Dec. 31.

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