PRICELINE STORE ROLLOUT BOOSTS API'S FULL YEAR PROFIT FORECAST

PRICELINE STORE ROLLOUT BOOSTS API'S FULL YEAR PROFIT FORECAST

Australian Pharmaceutical Industries (ASX: API) has booked a rise in half year net profit of $29.1 million on the back of rapid expansion in its Priceline Pharmacy network.

The owner of the Priceline and Soul Pattinson brands reported a 27 percent rise in net profit for the six months to February 28, along with a rise in revenue of 13 per cent to $2.02 billion on the back of strong sales through its expansion. 

The Priceline Pharmacy network expanded to 450 stores, which was an increase of 25 stores over the past 12 months, and the company plans to add another 20 retail outlets before the end of the financial year.

"We have increased NPAT and returns to shareholders through organic growth in our Priceline Pharmacy network, despite slower retail conditions in 2017," API's CEO and managing director Richard Vincent says.

The company also reported that net debt decreased to $84.4 million from the same time in the previous year and is expected to again be reduced in the second half of 2017.

"We are focussed on increasing shareholder value and we still forecast that we will be cash positive by the calendar year end," he says.

The company says it expects a full-year profit of at least 10 per cent more than last year's figure of $51.7 million but warned there may be a soft period ahead.

"We anticipate that consumer sentiment is likely to remain more challenging than in previous years, however we remain confident in our retail store pipeline and in reducing operating costs as a consequence of our prior capital investments," Vincent says.

API's board declared a fully franked dividend of 3.5 cents per share, up 40 per cent on the prior corresponding period.

At around 2pm AEST, API shares were up by half a per cent to $2.05.

Business News Australia

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