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Top Financial Result For Comvita

News Release
February 27, 2004

Another Sweet Result For Comvita


Comvita Limited has reported a 60 per cent increase in after tax profit for the year ended December 31, 2003 and a final dividend of two cents per share for its shareholders.

The fully imputed final dividend payment of 2cps brings the total dividend for 2003 to 4.19 cps. Earnings per share at 12.5 cps were 23 per cent up on the previous 12-month period.

Comvita chairman Bill Bracks, who was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for services to industry in the New Year honours list, says 2003 was a tumultuous year characterised by a number of major events ranging from the SARS epidemic to the successful acquisition of Bee & Herbal Limited and Apimed Medical Honey Limited.

"Despite this, Comvita still delivered a profit of $1.146 million in line with expectations," he says.

Bracks says the largest honey crop in New Zealand's history, successful management of Varroa mite, huge exchange rate fluctuations, the introduction of new sophisticated management practices for the production of medical honey plus launching on the AX have underscored the company's ability to cope with the highs and lows of a changing environment without losing focus and still bring in a successful result.

"The Comvita Group 2003 gross revenues grew by 21.5 per cent with NPAT growing by a comfortable 60.5 per cent and dividend growth 16.7 per cent," Bracks adds.

"Export markets in Europe, Hong Kong and Japan have performed well in spite of very high retail manuka honey prices flowing from supply shortfalls in 2002. Given the operating environment this is a very satisfactory outcome with a sound base for further growth evolving from the Apimed purchase and development of wound dressings made with medical grade manuka honey."

Bracks concludes while product development remains an important driver of growth, Comvita's principal growth strategy is to shift from being an exporter to an international marketer of natural health products and health solutions.

"To this end we have recruited a top line senior and middle management team with the experience and vision necessary to achieve this goal."

END


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