Let’s start the new week with a couple quick stories we couldn’t fit into our bumper weekend edition, involving Fisher & Paykel Healthcare (ASX:FPH) and Ausgold (ASX:AUC).
New Zealand’s Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Corp (ASX:FPH) will reward shareholders with a tiny lift in the final and annual dividends despite reporting a 34% slide in net after tax profit for the year to March 31.
The company lifted the final to 23 NZ cents per share from 22.5 NZ cents in 2021-22 which took the full year payout to 40.5 NZ cents per share up 3% from 39.5 NZ cents paid the year before.
The small rise in the payout to shareholders was supported by a forecast of higher revenues for the current 2023-24 financial year and more importantly, a solid recovery in second half revenues after a weak first half to September 30, 2022.
Sales of products into homes hit record levels while excess stocks of product in hospitals fell over the year with order levels returning to normal in the second half.
Directors said that assuming there are no significant respiratory disease events, they saw full year operating revenue of approximately $NZ1.70 billion, “with approximately similar revenue growth rates for both Hospital and Homecare product groups.”
That would be an 8% rise in revenue for the coming year from the $NZ1.58 billion reported for the year to March 31, down 6% from 2021-22.
But the company said net profit fell 34% to $US250.3 million, or 39% decline in constant currency.
Second half operating revenue jumped 14% to $NZ890.5 million, “driven by strong growth in Hospital new applications consumables and masks revenue.”
CEO Lewis Gradon said in Friday’s ASX/NZX release that “The second half result was encouraging as market conditions progressed towards more of a normal state and both our Hospital and Homecare product groups delivered good growth.”
“Hospital product group revenue for the full year was $NZ1.02 billion, a 15% decrease compared to the previous year and an 18% decrease in constant currency.
“Hospital hardware sales were down 53% in constant currency compared to the 2022 financial year, a year that was more heavily impacted by global COVID-19 surges.
“During the 2023 financial year, hardware sales in countries or regions that did not experience COVID-19 surges were tracking somewhat close to pre-pandemic patterns.
“Hospital new applications consumables revenue for the full year was down 6% from the prior year in constant currency, as hospital customers worked through their excess inventory.
“This trend abated throughout the year, and new applications consumables revenue for the second half of 2023 was up 13% in constant currency over the second half of 2022.”
“Homecare product group revenue for the full year was a record $NZ553.8 million, 18% higher than the previous year, and 13% higher in constant currency.
“The company saw strong growth in masks and accessories revenue, which in constant currency was up 17% for the full year, and up 24% for the second half.
“Our Evora Full mask for OSA launched in the United States in May 2022 and contributed significantly to the strong OSA masks revenue. It’s one of the most positive new mask launches we have ever experienced based on customer feedback and initial sales performance in the regions where it is available,” said Mr Gradon.
The company saw a sharp fall in gross margins to 59.4%, a 369-basis-point drop in constant currency. “Margin was impacted by continued elevated freight costs and manufacturing inefficiencies as the company rebalanced demand fluctuations with manufacturing throughput during the year.”
Up-and-comer Ausgold (ASX:AUC) is bullish about its Katanning gold project in the WA wheat belt.
The company says it has just completed a scoping study at the Katanning prospect which has revealed the potential for a much larger operation.
The Katanning prospect is more the 270 kilometres southeast of Perth and Ausgold says the mineralisation covers around 20 kilometres with the latest mineral resource estimate (MRE) now at 85 million tonnes at 0.94 grams of gold to the tonne.
That’s up from 56 million tonnes averaging 1.21 grams of gold to the tonne in the 2022 pre-feasibility study. (PFS)
Ausgold says there is a large resource of 2.64 million ounces of gold at 0.94 grams to the tonne gold (2.16 million ounces in the 0222 study) and a Maiden Ore Reserve of 1.28 million ounces at 1.25 grams to the tonne gold.
The new capital cost is now just under $300 million, according to the presentation sent to the ASX. That’s up from $225 million in the August, 2022 PFS.
The company said in the update that a scoping study as outlined the case for a larger 5 million tonnes a year operation.
According to Ausgold, the new scoping study at the mine has identified the potential for a larger throughput capable of delivering 136,000 ounces of gold a year over a 10 year life of the mine. There would be output of 155,000 ounces a year for the first six years under the new study.
“Following the results of the 2022 PFS (pre-feasibility study), this scoping study clearly indicates increased scale from the PFS level mine plan producing 163,000 more ounces than the PFS over life of mine,” Ausgold CEO Matthew Greentree said in the presentation sent to the ASX.
“More importantly in the first six years, higher gold grades deliver an extra 174,000 ounces from what was determined in the PFS.”
Ausgold says there’s an updated resource due in the third quarter of this year to further expand the current mine plan.
Additional new drilling is planned for Q3 CY2023, with the definitive feasibility study expected to be complete in Q4 CY 2023. The company said the DFS (Definite Feasibility Study) will provide further growth in Reserves. The company said there’s a “multimillion ounce potential with low discovery cost” at Katanning.
“The scoping study underscores the Katanning gold project as the largest underdeveloped, free-milling, open cut gold project in Western Australia,” Ausgold said.