Ryman Healthcare’s unaudited first half underlying profit rose 8.5% to $95.9 million, with demand for retirement living and aged care remaining strong despite the challenges of COVID-19.
Unaudited reported (IFRS) profit, which includes unrealised fair value gains on investment property, increased 32.5% to $281.5 million in the six months to September 30.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 8.8 cents per share. The record date for entitlements is December 10, and the dividend will be paid on December 17, 2021.
Group Chief Executive Richard Umbers said the Delta strain of COVID-19 had resulted in lengthy lockdowns in Melbourne and Auckland during the first half, but Ryman villages remained in strong demand.
Total transacted sales rose 48% to $510 million in the first half. Only 1.2% of the retirement village portfolio was available for resale at September 30.
“When you consider the extent of the lockdowns in Auckland and Melbourne, which are our biggest markets, sales have been remarkably resilient,” Mr Umbers said.
The gradual easing of COVID-19 restrictions in Victoria, changes to migration settings in New Zealand and high vaccination rates in both countries were welcome news.
Ryman started work on three new sites during the half at Takapuna in Auckland and Highett and Ringwood East in Melbourne, bringing total villages in construction to 15.
“After 20 months of living in a pandemic we’re used to adapting and doing things differently to keep everyone safe and maintain momentum at the same time. There’s pressure on all our resources but we have strong supply lines and relationships with contractors.
“We expect to see pent-up demand come through in the market as restrictions lift in the next few months and we are cautiously optimistic about the months ahead.
“Since joining Ryman I have been impressed by the commitment of the team to keeping everyone safe, and the extraordinary care they take. I’ve had a warm welcome and I’m looking forward to building on Ryman’s success on both sides of the Tasman.”
Chair Dr David Kerr said the board has adjusted the dividend policy from 50% of underlying profit to a 30%-50% range.
“We have strong long-term growth plans and this change will enhance our ability to continue to deliver the Ryman experience to more communities.”
15 villages currently in construction as at November 19, 2021:
Lynfield, Auckland (Murray Halberg)
Devonport, Auckland (William Sanders)
River Rd, Hamilton (Linda Jones)
Lincoln Rd, Auckland (Miriam Corban)
Havelock North, Hawkes Bay (James Wattie)
Hobsonville, Auckland (Keith Park)
Riccarton Park, Christchurch (Kevin Hickman)
Brandon Park, Melbourne (Nellie Melba)
Burwood East, Melbourne (John Flynn)
Highton, Geelong, Victoria (Charles Brownlow)
Ocean Grove, Victoria (Deborah Cheetham)
Aberfeldie, Melbourne (Raelene Boyle)
Ringwood East, Melbourne
Sites in the land bank:
Bishopspark/Park Terrace, Christchurch
Mt Eliza, Victoria
Mt Martha, Victoria
• Unaudited underlying profit $95.9 million, an increase of 8.5%
• Reported (IFRS) profit increased 32.5% to $281.5 million, due to investment property revaluations
• Interim dividend of 8.8 cents per share, unchanged from prior year
• Total assets $9.85 billion, up 18.1% on September last year
• Net assets of $3.03 billion, up $579.6 million or 23.6% from a year ago
• Total cash receipts of $680.5 million in the half, up 40.9% from $483.1 million last year
• Dividend payment range reset to between 30% and 50% of underlying profit