Small Gains At Restructured Ansell
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It was another six months of small gains for Ansell, the protective gloves and clothing group and the odd bigger step.
For shareholders it was a small gain as interim dividend was lifted a whole quarter of one cent to 20.5 cents a share, partly franked, from 20.25 cents.
Looking at the bigger picture though and the market is expecting a much stronger performance than that.
Ansell says it now expects full-year earnings per share guidance in the range of 96 US cents to $US1.06, ($A1.23 to $A1.37) up from its previous expectation of 91 US cents to $US1.01. That’s a gain of 5.5%.
The company says the lift in guidance is based on the company’s current share buyback, a lower tax expense following US tax reform, and expectations that the group’s businesses are performing in line with original forecasts.
Ansell reported a net profit of $US428.2 million ($A547.97 million) for the six months to December 31 - up more than 500% - a result that was boosted by the one-off gain of $US411.5 million pre-tax on the sale of its condoms (sexual wellness) business.
Excluding this discontinued operation, Ansell said net profit was up almost 24% to $US66.6 million. That was on revenue from continuing operations rising 8.8% to $US722.2 million.
Chief executive Magnus Nicolin says the first half of the financial year has been pivotal for Ansell as the group completed the sale of its condoms business and restructured its core healthcare and industrial divisions.
“We have once again been in a position to increase the dividend to shareholders and note the strength of our balance sheet which positions us well for value-adding capital management and acquisition activities,” Mr Nicolin said in a statement to the ASX.
Ansell shares fell nearly 4% to $23.86. Investors were not convinced.
Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.
At the AFR he was a finance writer, Finance Editor, News Editor and Chief of Staff. At the Nine Network he was supervising producer of Business Sunday for more than 16 years. He has also written for other online and analogue print publications here and overseas.