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Ebos looking at raft of acquisitions

Ebos looking at raft of acquisitions, aims to build momentum into Asia, Davies says

By Rebecca Howard

Feb. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Ebos Group continues to look at a raft of possible acquisitions within the healthcare and animal care markets and aims to build its export momentum into Asia, says chief executive Patrick Davies

"There are another half a dozen opportunities that the board had a look at yesterday in our meeting and they are at various stages of probability but the group remains as active as ever in looking to expand within the channels we are currently in," Davies told BusinessDesk.

Last year, the healthcare and animal products maker bought HPS, Australia’s largest provider of outsourced pharmacy services to hospitals, and acquired a 14.1 percent stake in MedAdvisor, Australia’s leading digital medication management company. Davies said those deals "indicate the sort of things we are happy to invest in" and that "we are hopeful of expanding the group into Asia."

Davis said a move towards Asia is a "logical progression" and "the real opportunity is to export the products that we own, the brands that we own," such as the Red Seal products and the Black Hawk premium pet food products.

Ebos currently has distribution arrangements in China, South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia as well as a few other countries but "we don't have as yet arms and legs on the ground through offices of our own but we are building our export momentum and I think that presents opportunities for the future," he said.

The company's international sales of Red Seal product were mixed in the first half with lower sales in China arising from a change in distributor. Solid growth was achieved in other Asian countries including South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, it said.

Ebos has no plans to relocate to Australia, where it derives more than 80 percent of its revenue, Davies said.

"The company's primary exchange is the New Zealand exchange, the registered office of the group is here in New Zeland and we see no need to change that," he said. "We are thrilled we have been able to expand successfully into Australia and we would expect to do so into Asia in the years ahead but there is no talk of changing the domicile of the business."

Davies, who leaves on March 31 said he's worked closely with his replacement, chief financial officer John Cullity, for the past eight years and "his attitude is to keep it going. To maintain the strategy that's been very successful for the group."

Ebos profit rose to a record $76.7 million, or 50.4 cents per share, in the six months ended Dec. 31, from $68.8 million, or 45.4 cents, a year earlier.

The shares rose 1.7 percent to $17.44, having dropped 7.6 percent so far this year.

(BusinessDesk)

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