24 Jul 2015

Comvita expects full year net profit rise

1:26 pm on 24 July 2015

Comvita says its annual profit is expected to rise by a third, supported by a large stock of honey, strong Asian demand and better margins.

It is on the hunt for a new chief executive, following the resignation of Brett Hewlett at yesterday's annual meeting.

It also told shareholders that its profit is expected to rise 35 percent to about $13.8 million in the year to March, compared with the previous year.

Sales are forecast to rise 18 percent to top $180 million.

Mr Hewlett said he would be pursuing other business interests and take on more governance roles, including a seat on the board of Comvita.

Mr Hewlett said it was time to bow out after a decade in the job.

He said the company was in a strong financial position and he would be leaving it in good hands when he officially steps down at the end of March.

"The company is in a strong position, with a clear strategy in place and a highly competent senior management team that will continue to deliver results for shareholders, building on our record 2015 earnings result."

"We've seen extremely high demand ... and better than normal inventory levels of raw honey. And that's set us up very, very well, to fuel that demand, " he said.

Comvita's board is reviewing potential candidates, including internal candidates from the strong senior bench of Comvita, and anticipates announcing an appointment before the end of the year.

Comvita's share price has risen sharply following the earnings upgrade, rising another 4 percent to $5.20 this morning.