A New Zealand headquartered company making breathing equipment has faced unprecedented demand for its products amid the global pandemic and associated respiratory problems.
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare on Monday reported a record profit of $287.3 million for the year to March, up 37% on the profit last year.
Operating revenue was $1.26 billion, up 18% over last year.
Shareholders will get a final dividend of 15.5 cents per share, an increase of 15% on the final dividend last year. This brings the total dividend for the year to 27.5 cents per share, an increase of 18% on last year.
And the company's expecting much more in the year ahead, with a forecast that revenues in the financial year now under way could be close to $1.5 billion and net profit may be as much as $340 million.
The Fisher & Paykel Healthcare shares were again in demand on the NZX on Monday, driving up nearly 4% to over $33.
The company said the increase in revenue in the financial year to March was largely driven by growth in the use of the company’s 'Optiflow' nasal high flow therapy, demand for products to treat Covid-19 patients, and strong hospital hardware sales throughout the course of the year.
"The 2020 financial year was already on track to deliver strong growth before the coronavirus impacted sales," managing director Lewis Gradon said.
"Beginning in January, the demand for our respiratory humidifiers accelerated in a way that has been unprecedented."
Gradon said with new processes, new procedures and new ways of working safely, "we managed to double and in some instances triple, output for some of our hospital hardware products over just a few months at the end of the year. I’m incredibly proud of our people and their unyielding commitment to doing the right thing for patients.”
In terms of the year ahead, Gradon said due to significant uncertainty in the extent and duration of the impact of Covid-19 on global demand for the company's products, it had made some assumptions to allow us it to provide "some guidance" for the full year to March 2021.
"As a result, our guidance is provided on the basis that global hospitalisations due to Covid-19 peak for the first quarter of this financial year, and hospitalisations for respiratory-related illnesses and OSA [obstructive sleep apnoea] diagnostic activity steadily return to normal by the end of our first half. On this basis and at current exchange rates, full year operating revenue for the 2021 financial year would be approximately $1.48 billion and net profit after tax would be approximately $325 million to $340 million.
"Our assumption for guidance is not a prediction of the course of Covid-19 around the world. We are continuing to grow manufacturing capacity of hospital products during our 2021 financial year to ensure a further increase in supply of our respiratory products is available if required," he said.
Gradon said construction was complete on the company's fourth manufacturing building in New Zealand.
"As we bring forward capital expenditure spending for new product tooling and manufacturing capacity we expect capital expenditure for the 2021 financial year to be approximately $160 million."