Ryman Healthcare Expects Higher Fiscal-Year Profit

WELLINGTON, New Zealand--New Zealand retirement home operator Ryman Healthcare said its underlying profit for the first half of the fiscal year was higher thanks to continued growth in resale volumes and strong demand.

The company, which owns retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia said its underlying profit for the six months to September was 85.2 million New Zealand dollars (US$58.6 million), 11.4% higher on the year. Its reported profit was up 8.4% at 202.4 million New Zealand dollars. Ryman said it expects an underlying profit of between 195 million and 210 million New Zealand dollars for the year to March 2018. Last year, it reported an underlying profit of 178 million New Zealand dollars.

Directors of the company declared an interim dividend of 9.5 New Zealand cents, up from 8.5 New Zealand cents for the same period a year ago.

Occupancy in Ryman's established care centres was running at 97% during the first half, well ahead of the industry average of 87%, it said.

Chairman David Kerr said it was pleasing to see resale volumes at Ryman's villages grow by 12%, despite volumes in the real-estate market dropping by more than 20% over the first half.

"We are keeping an eye on the property market like everyone else. It is also important to remember that moving into a Ryman village is usually a decision based on health needs, rather than a purely market-driven decision," he said, with property values playing a role in determining the amount the company can charge for places in its retirement facilities as customers often sell their home before moving in.

Meanwhile, the company said it was expecting a busier second half with construction activity weighted towards the end of the year. Work is now under way on three new villages in Auckland and one in Melbourne, and in addition to this Ryman has another 10 villages in its land bank, it said.

Write to Ben Collins at ben.collins@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 16:26 ET (21:26 GMT)