First-half group sales of A$206m (US$160m) were up 22% on the corresponding period last year. This delivered a net profit after tax for the first six months of the financial year of $18.6m (US$14.5m), 54% up on last year and a record result for the group.
Asia a strategic priority
“This is a very encouraging result that was achieved with all regions and brands in the Blackmores Group delivering strong year on year growth,” said Blackmores chief executive, Christine Holgate.
“It has positioned us well for the second-half whilst enabling us to build a strong balance sheet.”
Holgate highlighted that investment in Asia growth would be one of the company’s strategic priorities.
While Blackmores' Australia sales were up 29%, they were boosted by growing demand for its products from Chinese consumers.
“This gives us confidence in the importance of our Asia growth strategy,” said Holgate.
However, Blackmores Asia delivered a 15% decline in earnings on a 5% growth in sales, which Holgate said reflected the retail challenges the company was continuing to have in Thailand. The chief executive had predicted corporate turbulence six months ago on the back of political unrest in the country.
“Excluding Thailand, the region grew sales by 17% including a new record for Blackmores Malaysia,” said Holgate. “In Thailand we have a solid marketing and sales plan for the year and we have increased confidence in our medium-term prospects in this market.”
New Asia general managers
Blackmores’ wholly foreign-owned China enterprise will support future growth in the region, she said, adding that the opening of a free-trade zone in China last November presented another opportunity for the company, particularly as it has secured a licence to directly trade within the zone.
Its Thailand operation will get a new general manager in Pussadee Suchitchon, while another female executive, Jin Young Kim, will join as the general manager of Blackmores Korea—both veterans in health and nutrition.
Meanwhile, Blackmores’ new finance chief, Aaron Canning, has extensive management experience in Asia, a point Holgate highlighted in her announcement of his appointment.