Warriewood, Australia (PressExposure) February 23, 2009 -- Blackmores Limited (ASX:BKL) today reported strong revenue growth for the 2008/09 financial year, despite the challenging economic environment placing pressure on retail expenditure across the economy.
The company also announced that Marcus Blackmore has today relinquished the title of Executive Chairman to become Chairman, following the recent appointment of Christine Holgate as CEO.
Ms Holgate, said the companyâs 5.9% growth in revenues for the first half was largely attributed to a solid performance from its key Australian pharmacy channel and the continued growth of its Asian operations.
The Board declared a 39 cent per share interim fully franked dividend, which is steady compared to 1H 2007/2008.
âThe first half results give management and the Board confidence that the Blackmores brand is well placed to deliver a full year profit result in line with last yearâs $19 million,â Ms Holgate said.
âWhile the economic pressures have seen retail sales under some pressure, our sales have held strong as a result of our leading brand, premium offering and the investment we have made in building loyalty and trust with our consumers and partners.
âThe challenge of building our new campus and relocating from our Balgowlah and Brookvale premises to the new Warriewood site did put significant strain on our company yet we have still delivered a sound result.â
The results showed that the company had controlled its operating expenses to mitigate increases in raw materials and other associated costs arising from the economic climate. Profit before tax includes $2.1 million of unrealised losses in respect of the companyâs hedging of key foreign currencies in a volatile environment.
Although debt increased as a result of the construction of the new purpose built Warriewood campus, the campus gives the company the platform to support future growth and drive further operational efficiencies.
Operations by market
Blackmoresâ Australian operations posted first-half revenues of $86.6 million, representing a 6.3% growth compared to the previous corresponding period.
Although our shipment sales to API, our NZ distributor, were lower in Australian dollar terms, Blackmores has grown market share in key channels in New Zealand.
The companyâs Asian operations - which contributed 15% to the companyâs total revenues - increased revenues by 23.7% for the first half to $14.5 million.
Directors have declared an interim dividend of 39 cents per share (fully franked), equalling the interim dividend declared last year.
This will be paid to shareholders registered at 5.00pm on 5 March 2009 and payable on 19 March 2009.
The company has also announced that its shareholders are able to participate in a Dividend Reinvestment Plan, which is currently providing a 7.5% discount. Governance
Mr Blackmore today said he relinquished the title of Executive Chairman to become chairman effective immediately.
Mr Blackmore has been particularly impressed with Blackmoresâ new CEO, Christine Holgate. Mr Blackmore said. âAs Chairman of the Board, I look forward to providing her with business development and strategy advice as well as continuing to represent the company.â
Mr Blackmore will take a substantial cut in pay commensurate with his lesser executive role. In the interests of good governance, Deputy Chairman Stephen Chapman, will continue to act as Lead Director. Outlook
Ms Holgate said while conditions would continue to be challenging as a result of global financial instability, the Board and management believed Blackmores had the right foundations in place to deliver a result in line with last year.
A strategic review is currently underway to build on revenue opportunities and operational and manufacturing efficiencies.
âWhile Blackmores has the diversity in product, channels and markets to meet existing challenges, the Board and management believe there is scope to further improve performance,â Ms Holgate said.
âWe intend to build on the companyâs core strengths such as its leading position in complementary medicines, diversity of markets, extensive product range and a distribution channel made up of pharmacy, grocery and health food retailers.
âWhatâs more, this is underpinned by a solid brand that is synonymous with consumers in Australia - and increasingly among the Asian markets - as being a trusted Australian brand that is made from natural ingredients.â
Ms Holgate said that the confident outlook by Blackmores was supported by industry experts forecasting which suggested that the Australian health sector is expected to remain strong.
âWe believe the growth opportunities in our Asian markets are also significant, as we continue to build brand awareness.
âWe also have a strong pipeline of innovative new products being rolled out which are first to market, including a range of nutritional supplements [http://www.blackmores.com.au/Products/GroupListing.aspx?GroupId=11] that meet the specific needs of children which are great tasting without the need for artificial sweeteners.
âAt the same time, we expect to see greater operational efficiencies from the move to our purpose built Warriewood campus that will enable to us to continue to build on superior product and services to our customers.â
For further information please contact:
Peter Laidlaw/Chris Newlan
Lighthouse Communications Group
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