18 May 2012

Retirement unit demand underpins Ryman profit

9:08 am on 18 May 2012

Ryman Healthcare has posted its tenth successive record profit and says the result is underpinned by unprecedented demand for its retirement units.

The listed rest home and retirement village operator made $120.8 million in the year to the end of March, up almost 21% on the previous year.

Once gains from property revaluations are stripped out, underlying profit rose 17% to $84 million. Revenue rose 20% to $155 million.

As a result, Ryman says shareholders' annual dividend will increase by 17% to 8.4 cents per share, to be paid on 22 June.

Huge demand for retirement units

Ryman managing director Simon Challies says the company the company has aggressive expansion plans but can barely keep up with demand.

He says it could grow at 700 units and beds a year for the next 20 years and would still be lucky to have 15% of the market for aged care and retirement living in New Zealand, so there is plenty of scope.

Mr Challies says Ryman is building in Palmerston North, Christchurch, and Tauranga and is about to start building in Waikanae. It also has two sites in Auckland, and one each in Whangarei and Gisborne.

Mr Challies says another site will be announced shortly and Ryman plans to buy another two sites in the next 12 months.

Australian foray biggest challenge

Ryman bought its first site in Australia in November and Mr Challies says there are no plans to buy more.

He says the company's biggest challenge this year will be ensuring this first development across the Tasman goes well.

Mr Challies says the village has been designed for the site and it is now going through the resource consent process.