Hellaby's $56.1 million profit 'solid'

Chris Timms.
Chris Timms.
Hellaby Holdings produced a ''satisfying solid'' operating profit of $56.1 million for the year ended June, Craigs Investment Partners broker Chris Timms said.

Although some of the company's divisions did not perform up to expectations, the diverse company had taken measures which would provide benefits in the future.

The operating profit was up 49% on the previous corresponding period. Earnings per share increased 20% to 27.4 cents per share, reported profit was up 44% to $26.8 million and there was a 25.4% return on funds employed. Revenue was up 35.2% to $733.5 million.

Acquisitions were made during the year and while Construction Resources was a disappointment, the actual result was 9% better than revised guidance, Mr Timms said.

The company had a low gearing, or 23%, and would probably be comfortable with a gearing up to 35% if it was to buy more assets.

Hellaby also decided to write down the goodwill for its underperforming Hannahs and Number One Shoes, taking a hit of $26.9 million. Mr Timms said the write-down brought the company back to the value Hellaby believed it was worth.

Hellaby managing director John Williamson said the improved operating result included the positive impact of recent acquisitions as well as creditable performances by Hellaby's longer-held businesses.

Four of the five divisions performed ahead of last year and within those divisions, most businesses had improved year-on-year. The equipment business had a particularly stellar year, Mr Williamson said.

The three acquisitions made during the year - Federal Batteries, Dasko and New Zealand Trucks - were all integrating well and performing as expected.

The continued focus on profitable market share, operating efficiency and tight financial control was demonstrated by Hellaby's strong key financial indicators, Mr Williamson said.

The board declared a final tax-paid dividend of 9.5cps, taking the total dividend for the year to 15cps, 15% higher than the previous period. Chairman John Maasland said the final dividend had been determined as if no goodwill impairment had occurred.

''The board took this decision in recognition of the company's record earnings growth, its strong positive outlook and because the impairment had no impact on group cash flow.''

Looking ahead, Mr Williamson said the company was expecting to see increased contributions from its recent acquisitions, solid performances from its longer-held subsidiaries and continued focus on reshaping its portfolio.

''We're in excellent financial shape with a very strong balance sheet to support further acquisitions and currently have some interesting opportunities in play.''

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