25 May 2013

Comvita CEO bullish about company's prospects

3:00 pm on 25 May 2013

Comvita is bullish about the company's prospects this year, now that honey supply and prices have returned to more normal levels.

The health and beauty products manufacturer's after-tax profit fell by 10% to $7.4 million in the year ending March, as a shortage of manuka honey - a key ingredient - pushed up prices by 50%.

Chief executive Brett Hewlett says Comvita hopes to buy more bee farms this year to ensure that at least half its supply comes from its own farms.

But he says the company also wants to reduce its reliance on honey, so - for example - it has invested in the production of olive leaf extract in Australia.

Mr Hewlett won't say how much Comvita is willing to spend on acquiring new apiaries this year, but says the return on investment is usually within three years.

He says 30% of the company's sales is made through its retail stores or online, and it hopes to grow that.