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Hellaby, on hunt for acquisitions, posts 49% profit jump

Hellaby, on hunt for acquisitions, posts 49% profit jump on shoes, equipment, less debt

Aug. 22 (BusinessDesk) – Hellaby Holdings Ltd., the diversified investment group, posted a 49% increase in full-year profit on improved earnings from footwear and equipment, and lower interest costs after its raised equity capital and repaid debt.

Net profit rose to $15.4 million, or 22.6 cents a share, from $10.3 million, or 20.3 cents a year earlier, the company said in a statement today. The per-share earnings reflect the dilutionary impact of the issue of 21.85 million shares from its rights offer.

Hellaby slashed its net debt to $24.5 million from $73.3 million a year earlier after using the proceeds of the $28.4 million rights issue to help redeem $50 million of capital notes last December, reducing gearing to 15.5% as at June 30 from 42% a year earlier. That about halved the company’s interest bill and gave it the balance sheet strength to resume its hunt for acquisitions.

“While we haven’t yet secured a target that ticks all boxes, we’ll continue to be patient and selective,” said managing director John Williamson. “We firmly believe that we can continue to deliver satisfactory results for our stakeholders.”

Shares of Hellaby rose 4.2% to $2.50 on the NZX today and have gained 17% this year. The company will pay a final dividend of 6 cents a share, making 10 cents for the year, up from 8 cents in 2010.

By division, the equipment business turned to an EBIT profit of $1 million from a year-earlier loss of $1.9 million as sales rose 9.4% to $92.2 million.

Footwear, which comprises the Hannahs and Number One Shoes retail chains, posted EBIT of $6.4 million, almost double last year’s $3.3 million. Sales climbed to $9.7 million from $7 million.

The auto parts business lifted earnings to $19.6 million from $18.2 million, as sales climbed 3% to $162 million


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