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Methven 1H profit falls 27%, missing target, on UK loss

Methven first-half profit falls 27%, missing target, on unprofitable UK unit

Nov. 29 (BusinessDesk) - Methven, the tapware maker whose board agreed to link directors' fee increases to earnings growth, reported a worse-than-expected 27 percent drop in first-half profit on its unprofitable British operation.

Net profit fell to $2.3 million, or 3.5 cents per share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $3.2 million, or 4.8 cents, a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. The company had forecast a 25 percent decline in September. Sales fell 7.2 percent to $50.3 million.

"The global market conditions continue to impact the Methven business, with the uplift in second quarter earnings not sufficient enough to offset the forecast weak first quarter," chief executive Rick Fala said. "Returning the UK business to profitability is a key priority."

The shares rose 0.7 percent to $1.36 and have gained 25 percent this year. The stock is rated an average 'outperform' based on five analyst recommendations compiled by Reuters, with a median target price of $1.375.

Methven's board declared an interim dividend of 4.5 cents per share, or $3 million, with a record date of Dec. 14 payable on Dec. 31.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortistion in the New Zealand unit rose 8.2 percent to $4.3 million, while Australian earnings climbed 18 percent to A$1.6 million.

The UK unit posted an ebitda loss of 184,000 pounds. Methven's British management team formalised a restructuring plan last month to address earnings in the first-half to return the unit to profit. The restructuring is expected to cost $270,000.

The company didn't forecast annual earnings, saying "with continued global market uncertainty it still remains imprudent to provide guidance on the level of growth we might achieve."


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