Ebos confident of cracker 2016

EbosEbos Group, the animal and healthcare company, has recorded a “positive start” in the first quarter.

“If you need access to medicine or healthcare products in either New Zealand or Australia – whether through your pharmacy, in a hospital, an aged care facility or even for your pet through a veterinary service – it’s very likely that EBOS plays a role in getting that product to you. There’s no other company that can make this statement but we can because of our diversity and our long-standing commitment to expanding our company to ensure we participate in emerging opportunities,” said the group’s CEO, Patrick Davies, at the annual meeting yesterday.

In August, the Christchurch-based company posted a 15 per cent gain in full-year profit to $105.9 million, led by increased sales and an improved margin from its Australian healthcare businesses.

Earnings growth in its first quarter had been “consistent with the growth rate delivered in the second half” of the 2015 financial year, which Davies put down to recent acquisitions which are reaching their first anniversary under Ebos ownership.

The company bought a stake in Australia’s pharmacy retailer Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse and the BlackHawk Premium Pet Care pet food business in the latest year, while opening a pharmaceutical distribution centre in Melbourne and winning a state-wide contract to supply medical consumables to public hospitals in New South Wales.

Davies said 81 per cent of the company’s income is generated in Australian dollars and fluctuations in the exchange rate did weigh on earnings.

The AGM also marks the last for Rick Christie as chairman.

He is retiring after 12 years leading the board and is replaced by chairman designate and former Ebos CEO, Mark Waller.

Shareholders were also asked to vote on an increase of $125,000 in total non-executive director remuneration to $1.1 million annually, with effect from July 1, 2015.

Ebos shares fell 0.3 per cent to $13.93, having touched a record $14 last week and have surged some 42 per cent since the start of the year.

In closing the annual meeting, Davies made a couple of comments about the group’s current trading and near-term profit expectations. “We have made a positive start to the new financial year with growth in profit in the first quarter consistent with the performance we delivered in the second half of FY15. This is driven in part by the contribution of the acquisitions made in FY15 which are just now reaching their first anniversary inside our company. We are confident of delivering another year of double digit constant currency profit growth for our shareholders in FY16.”

Ebos employs over 2,400 people across more than 40 locations.

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