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Ryman aims for share price boost

By Chris Hutching

Thursday 24th April 2003

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Ryman Healthcare is hoping its two new multi-million-dollar retirement developments will boost its share price.

Ryman recently announced a $100 million development in Remuera and a $20 million complex for Napier.

While Ryman's performance stands out among the listed retirement care operators its share price tends to be marked down with the sector generally, much to the frustration of managing director Kevin Hickman.

The Christchurch-based company has consistently outperformed the NZSE40 since listing four years ago.

It has developed 13 villages and five hospitals in Invercargill, Dunedin, Christchurch, Wellington, Lower Hutt, Hamilton and Auckland including the Grace Joel retirement village opened in St Heliers last year.

The latest Remuera development, in Abbotts Way, will begin later this year.

The government's recent change to drop asset testing of senior citizens entering retirement care institutions is unlikely to affect Ryman's performance. About half of most Ryman clientele pay their own way already.

More significant to the healthcare developer is the general investment climate.

According to Mr Hickman, older investors are looking for capital-gain-type assets rather than income (which remains subject to certain thresholds for people in retirement care). The same is probably true of investors generally in the face of weak equity markets.

Ryman not only makes a margin from developing its retirement villages and resthome facilities (it owns a construction company), it also makes a margin from re-sales of apartment units, which revert back to the company when residents move on or die.

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