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FIRST CUT: Ebos boosts first-half profit 7.2%, raises annual earnings outlook

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

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bos Group's recent acquisitions helped the pharmaceutical and animal health products maker lift first-half profit 7.2 percent and fatten its dividend to shareholders, while also bolstering the outlook for annual earnings. 

Net profit rose to $68.8 million, or 45.4 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31 from $64.2 million, or 42.5 cents, a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company said. Revenue climbed 21 percent to $3.96 billion. Forsyth Barr analyst Chelsea Leadbetter was picking net profit fo $68.8 million on revenue of $3.76 billion. 

Ebos said profit would have been $3.7 million higher had the kiwi dollar not appreciated against its Australian counterpart, and it upgraded annual guidance for underlying profit to be at the upper end of a previous projection for growth of 7-to-10 percent. 

"Our recent acquisitions of BlackHawk and Red Seal are making significant contributions to the earnings of this group," chief executive Patrick Davies said. "We continue to invest in our healthcare businesses as evidenced by the completion of the Terry White Chemmart merger in the first half" which has "created one of Australia's largest retail pharmacy networks that is well placed for growth and future opportunities."

Ebos transformed itself in 2013 with the purchase of Australian pharmaceutical wholesaler and distributor Symbion, its biggest-ever deal, and has since bought New Zealand vitamin and herbal tea maker Red Seal, pharmaceuticals firm Zest, Australian pharmacy retailer Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse, the BlackHawk Premium Pet Care pet food business, and more recently merged its Australian Chemmart pharmacy chain with rival Terry White Group.

The board declared an interim dividend of 30 cents per share, up 15 percent from a year earlier, payable on April 7 with a March 17 record date. 

Ebos shares last traded at $18.11, and have gained 39 percent over the past 12 months.

Bond Offer: Infratil Ltd, 7.2 year & 10.2 year unsecured unsubordinated bond

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