18 Mar 2014

Ryman moves to meet growing demand

8:18 am on 18 March 2014

Ryman Healthcare plans to build eight new retirement villages, particularly expanding its footprint in Auckland.

The listed, aged-care operator wants to lift its build rate in New Zealand to 850 units and beds a year by 2017 to meet increasing demand, meaning it will be building at almost double what it was five years ago.

Managing director Simon Challies said it was experiencing great demand for its existing villages and believed it was about to hit a 30-year growth period as the population aged.

Five of the eight new villages would be in the Auckland region and Mr Challies said Ryman would have invested more than $100 million on these new sites by the end of the year.

"We're experiencing strong demand all round the country for our product ... and we've been relatively under-represented in the Auckland market, so that's why we've been targetting sites in Auckland," he said.

"There's a number of communities outside of Auckland that we've also been looking at.

"I guess the immediate target for us is to have a presence in communities we're not currently serving but long term there will be lots of opportunities to expand our presence even in areas where we're currently represented."

The New Zealand developments would not impact Ryman's plans across the Tasman, with Ryman to soon open its first site in Melbourne. It was also looking for a second site in the city, Mr Challies said.