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Ansell trades higher after guidance boost

Lex Hall with AAP  |  18 Feb 2019Text size  Decrease  Increase  |  
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Global industrial and medical glove maker Ansell is trading higher after raising its earnings guidance and posting a slight rise in first-half profit.

Ansell posted a 0.7 per cent adjusted first-half profit growth, from US$62.9 million ($87.94 million) to US$63.6 million.

Full-year 2019 earnings per share for Ansell's continuing businesses is now expected in the range of 106 to 112 US cents, compared to 100 to 112 US cents.

At 2.30pm, Ansell was up 4.38 per cent at $25.28 - a 5 per cent discount to the Morningstar fair value estimate of $27.

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Ansell's 91 per cent decline in first-half profit is somewhat misleading

Ansell has reported an interim dividend of US 20.75 cents, unfranked, up 0.25 cents from the previous year.

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Morningstar analyst Daniel Ragonese said the soft first-half result was largely attributable to higher raw material costs.

"The near term was short because raw material costs were higher. However, they actually raised their earnings guidance slightly. And the second half should be stronger as the company passes through higher pricing and extracts further cost savings through their ongoing transformation program.”

In statutory terms, the company posted a 91 per cent decline in first-half profit, although this is somewhat misleading as the prior year result gained from the sale of the “Sexual Wellness” condom business to a Chinese consortium in 2017.

"Last year's results benefited from the gain on the sale, and this year’s results have been affected by transformation costs,” said Ragonese.

"The adjusted profit numbers were actually pretty flat, showing a 1 per cent increase. This is a truer reflection of the operational performance of the business.”

Ansell's total revenue for the six months to 31 December fell by 5.4 per cent to $US725.3 million, but sales from continuing operations rose 0.4 per cent as the company continues its restructuring program.

During the reporting period Ansell bought Texas-based protective glove manufacturer Ringers Gloves for $US70 million, while also announcing plans to shut three production sites in Mexico and South Korea and instead expand operations in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.

Ansell chief executive Magnus Nicolin said the company, having also completed the $US265 million share buyback originally announced in May 2017, had overcome rising costs of raw materials, risks of US import tariffs, and emerging areas of demand uncertainty in the EMEA automotive sector.

"We have successfully navigated these challenges and have seen improving trends through the half in both organic revenue growth and margin," Mr Nicolin said.

"This, coupled with continued strong delivery against the transformation objectives, puts Ansell in a strong position to achieve further top and bottom line growth in the second half."

. Lex Hall is content editor with Morningstar Australia

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