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Improved occupancy and profit for Ryman

By Phil Boeyen, ShareChat Business News Editor

Thursday 16th November 2000

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Retirement village operator Ryman Healthcare has pushed its interim profit up by 10% on last year to just over $7 million and announced that it has increased occupancy at a number of its operations.

The result is a sign the company is coming back up to speed after missing its full year prospectus forecast earlier in the year. For the year to the end of March it made $12.5 million, $1.6 million below its prospectus target.

One of the reasons the company gave for not making its forecast was lower than expected occupancy levels at the new hospitals at the Malvina Major and Ngaio Marsh Villages in Wellington and Christchurch.

However in its latest half-year result Ryman reports both those hospitals are now full, as is its new Shona McFarlane resthome in Lower Hutt which was only opened in August.

The company is one of few in the country who can say that, because of the nature of its operations, it is relatively unaffected by fluctuations in the New Zealand economy. And although there have been warnings about an oversupply of resthomes within the industry, the company says considerable opportunities remain as the significant growth in the elderly population continues.

In particular Ryman management claims it has put a substantial amount of effort into identifying and acquiring sites around the country, including one in Hamilton to add to its properties in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

It says any new sites are a "store for the future" and will generate considerable profits over the years ahead.

An interim dividend of 2.8 cents per share has been declared, and the directors say they anticipate positive earnings in the second half of the year. Sales revenue in the interim result rose to $27.8 million from $22.8 million last year.

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