By Suze Metherell
Ebos Group, the animal and healthcare company, expects annual earnings to again grow at a "double digit" rate, saying it has recorded a "positive start" in the first quarter.
Chief executive Patrick Davies told shareholders at the annual meeting he was "confident of delivering another year of double digit, constant currency profit growth for our shareholders in FY16", according to speech notes lodged with the NZX.
In August, the Christchurch-based company posted a 15 percent gain in full-year profit to $105.9 million, led by increased sales and an improved margin from its Australian healthcare businesses.
Earnings growth in its first quarter had been "consistent with the growth rate delivered in the second half" of the 2015 financial year, which Davies put down to recent acquisitions which are reaching their first anniversary under Ebos ownership.
The company bought a stake in Australia's pharmacy retailer Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse and the BlackHawk Premium Pet Care pet food business in the latest year, while opening a pharmaceutical distribution centre in Melbourne and winning a state-wide contract to supply medical consumables to public hospitals in New South Wales.
Davies said 81 percent of the company's income is generated in Australian dollars and fluctuations in the exchange rate did weigh on earnings.
The AGM also marks the last for Rick Christie as chairman.
He is retiring after 12 years leading the board and is replaced by chairman designate and former Ebos chief executive Mark Waller.
Shareholders were also asked to vote on an increase of $125,000 in total non-executive director remuneration to $1.1 million annually, with effect from July 1 2015.
Ebos shares fell 0.3 percent to $13.93, having touched a record $14 last week and have surged some 42 percent since the start of the year.