Green Cross Health, which changed its name from Pharmacy Brands earlier this year as it expands into the primary health sector, boosted annual profit 14 per cent as its new pharmacy and medical acquisitions came on stream.
Profit rose to $18.8 million in the year ended March 31, of which non-controlling interests were entitled to $3.8 million, from $16.6 million a year earlier, the Auckland based company said in a statement. Sales rose 3.8 per cent to $258 million, outpacing a 1.2 per cent lift in the cost of sales to $146 million.
Prior to the name change in March, it had largely been seen as a retail pharmacy operating the Unichem, Amcal, Life Pharmacy, Radius and Care Chemist brands and running 28 medical centres.
Green Cross Health is chasing growth through acquisitions in the primary healthcare sector, and bought a 50 per cent share of Total Care Health Services in March, its first expansion into community healthcare. The company has consolidated its five pharmacy brands down to Life Pharmacy and Unichem, and relaunched its reward program, Living Rewards, which it said it wants to expand across all business units.
“We intend to invest in further acquisition opportunities in this sector,” chairman of the group, Peter Merton, said of the Total Care Health acquisition. “In time there will be opportunities for synergy across our pharmacy, medical and community health businesses.”
Sales at its pharmacies rose to $223.9 million from $221.7 million a year earlier. Medical centre sales nearly doubled to $9.5 million from $5.7 million and income from services provided to stores and medical centres rose to $24.5 million from $21 million.
“Our profit growth has been achieved through improved performance of all business units together with contributions from new pharmacy and medical acquisitions,” Merton said. “The contribution to the group of our medical business is now substantial. We are confident that the platform we have established will create further opportunities for growth.”
The board declared a final dividend of 3.5 cents per share, payable on June 23 with a record date of June 11, taking the annual dividend to seven per share, up from five cents a year earlier.
Shares in the NZX-listed healthcare group rose 1.5 per cent to $1.35, and have advanced 6.4 per cent this year, just beating the NZX All Index’s six per cent gain over the same period.