News

A2 profit up, but shares plunge

By Geoff Adams

A2 Milk shares have dipped nearly 15 per cent after its 47 per cent rise in full-year profit disappointed traders who were expecting more.

At 1051 AEST on Wednesday, August 21, the Kiwi company's shares were down 14.4 per cent to an eight-week low of $13.72.

The company said it made $NZ287 million ($A272.3 million) in the 12 months to June 30 as infant formula sales surged in China.

It had $NZ413.6 million ($A391m) in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, which was up 46.1 per cent but less than the $NZ431.3 million predicted by Morgan's in July.

A2 Milk chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the company was proud of its results in her first year of CEO, delivering record profit and market share.Revenue for the 12 months to June 30 jumped 41 per cent to $NZ1.3 billion, with revenue from China and other Asian countries increasing 74 per cent to $NZ405.7 million.

CMC Markets chief market strategist Michael McCarthy said the result was slightly below analysts' forecasts and noted the stock was close to its record high.A2 shares are still up more than 30 per cent for the year and trading at 42 times earnings

.Shares of rival infant formula makers Bellamy's, Bubs Australia and Wattle Health were down between 1.2 and 3.1 per cent at 1051 AEST.

A2 said it would exit the UK liquid milk business because there was more opportunity in greater China and the United States.

US sales grew 160 per cent to $34.6 million, although the segment had a earnings loss of $44 million as A2 invested in distribution and brand awareness.In China, A2's earnings were up 52.4 per cent to $123.9 million and A2 said the business was expanding its presence in mother and baby stores in the country.In Australia, A2 said A2 MIlk was the fastest-growing fresh milk brand in the country and the leading premium milk brand, holding a record 11.2 per cent market share.