24 Nov 2010

Dollar hits profits for medical equipment supplier

2:31 pm on 24 November 2010

Tax changes and an unfavourable exchange rate have hurt the half-year profit at Fisher Paykel Healthcare.

The medical equipment manufacturer made $16.8 million in the six months to the end of September compared with $37 million in the same period a year ago.

Once one-off tax charges were removed, underlying profit fell 23% to almost $29 million.

The company makes almost half of its sales to the United States and operating revenue rose by 12% to $US174 million. But the unfavourable exchange rate meant a fall of 3% in New Zealand dollar terms.

Chief executive Michael Daniell says sales of breathing machines to help with sleep apnea rose 7%, but some customers remain cautious about spending on equipment.

Mr Daniell says the company expects to make between $60m and $63m in the year to March, assuming the New Zealand dollar averages 77 US cents - below a previous forecast of $65m to $70m.

Fisher Paykel Healthcare will pay an unchanged dividend of 5.4 cents a share.

Its shares have fallen 2 cents to $3.