23 May 2014

Comvita's profit up despite cost jumps

9:25 pm on 23 May 2014

Comvita's full-year profit has risen 3.3 percent after the health and beauty products manufacturer restored its supply of manuka honey, which is a key ingredient in many of its products.

Net profit rose to $7.6 million for the year ended March.

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Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Honey supply shortages negatively affected revenue in the first half of the year, but a bumper second half saw sales increase 23 percent.

Profit margins were hampered by the strong New Zealand dollar, and a pricing agreement with buyers in the fast-growing China market prevented the added costs from being recovered.

But Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said it was still a good result, despite the supply shortages.

"Ex farmgate prices have jumped up, in some cases as much as 50 percent."

He said in some cases the company could get the price increases through to customers but in other cases could not do that quickly enough.

Mr Hewlett said Comvita had secured adequate manuka honey supply for future years after buying several apiary businesses.

The company will pay a final dividend of 8 cents a share.