'Mixed bag' likely from companies

Andrew Rooney
Andrew Rooney
A ''moderate level'' of earnings growth is expected from listed companies in the forthcoming reporting season, which starts with 12 of the 48 companies reporting this week.

NZX reports today, Summerset reports tomorrow then Guinness Peat Group, Opus, Precinct Properties, Property for Industry, PGG Wrightson, SkyCity, Nuplex,Vital Healthcare, Michael Hill and Steel and Tube report during the week.

The coming eight weeks is the larger of the quarterly reporting seasons, dominated by companies releasing their full-year 2014 results.

Forsyth Barr broker Andrew Rooney said it was a ''mixed bag for growth'', with the building and transport sectors in support of growth for earnings per share but utilities, retail and telecommunications sectors had negative growth expectations.

''The utilities, retail and telecommunications are depressing our overall aggregated market growth expectations.''

''We're forecasting a moderate level of earnings per share growth at the aggregated level in the reporting season.''

Forsyth Barr was forecasting revenue growth up 1.8%, aggregated, or up 4.9% median, with earnings before interest and tax (ebit) up 3.9% aggregate and 6.3% median.

Dividend growth aggregate was ''flat'' at 0% but up 1.3% at the median level, Mr Rooney said.

Of the 48 companies reporting, 11 were expected to have earnings per share growth for the six months on the previous corresponding period of more than 15%, he said.

The 11 were Abano Healthcare, Air New Zealand, Delegat's, Hellaby, Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Oceana Gold, Opus, PGG Wrightson, Skellerup and Steel and TubeThe top four for earnings per share growth were Oceana Gold, Abano, Delegat's and Meridian Energy while at the other end of the scale were Wynyard, Fonterra Shareholder Fund, A2 Milk and Refining New Zealand.

The research said Oceana Gold, which had already reported, would deliver better results than the same period a year ago, but noted it had expected to be working its way through lower grades of ore.

Abano's dental acquisitions were expected to contribute annualised gross revenues of $30 million, but it faced a ''sharply lower'' earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) loss by associate Bay International.

Delegat's appeared well positioned to capitalise on a strong 2014 grape harvest.

Meridian Energy had reaped the benefits of a great year from high lake levels, which had boosted earnings well ahead of expectations.

Wynyard is expected to deliver first-half revenues, up 36% on a year ago, of around $14 million, but more clarity was sought on revenue opportunities and the product sales path, the research said.

Falling commodity prices for the Fonterra Shareholder Fund should help drive medium term profit margin expansion in overseas divisions.

The research said A2 Milk had been constrained in its ability to export infant formula to China but recently gained regulatory approval.

''This has limited earnings potential through the second half [of] 2014 and will weigh on full year 2014 profitability,'' the research said.

Marsden Point fuel refiner Refining New Zealand had an ''extremely difficult'' start to full year 2014 with the strong New Zealand dollar, low refining margins and a longer than expected refinery outage, which could all contribute to what was ''likely to be an awful result'', the research said.

-simon.hartley@odt.co.nz

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