The stratospheric rise of vitamin and health supplement maker Blackmores shows no signs of slowing as demand from China more than doubled its half year profit to another record.
Chief executive Christine Holgate said times like this are rare.
“Last year we had a fantastic profit result for the whole year and now we’ve beaten that in the first half, and it’s four times the profit we had two years ago,” Ms Holgate told AAP.
“You don’t get many opportunities like this.”
Revenue jumped 65 per cent in the six months to December 31, pushing profit to $48.3 million, from $18.6 million a year earlier.
The company has not issued specific full year guidance, other than saying it is confident of strong profit growth.
“It’s our ninth quarter in a row with a strong trajectory,” Ms Holgate said.
Predicting growth in China is difficult because the market is full of surprises, she said.
“Every time we think we’ve understood (China), the growth is stronger than we thought it was going to be.”
Blackmores has passed on its success to shareholders, almost tripling its interim dividend to $2 per share.
But skyrocketing sales to Chinese consumers, both directly and through Australian retailers, is creating some headaches.
Meeting the needs of Australian consumers has become a key concern, particularly as the company ventures into infant formula in a joint venture with Bega Cheese.
“The biggest challenge I have is being able to wrestle the needs of Australian mums and consumers with this strong surge in demand,” Ms Holgate said.
The joint venture supplied 100,000 tins of infant formula to Australian pharmacies in mid-January, and they sold out in weeks as Chinese consumers and entrepreneurs continue to buy formula in bulk and send it to China.
“What bothers me is that the Australian mum can’t buy her product that she really needs,” she said.
Blackmores set up a hotline for Australian consumers to order formula, and brought forward its formula launch date.
Despite another record profit, Blackmores shares fell heavily, dropping $7.93, or 4.81 per cent, to $157.07.
The shares soared to an astronomical $220 in early January, from just $35 a year earlier.
IG market analyst Evan Lucas said that has made Blackmores too pricey to invest in.
“The share price has got so excited, so fast, so quickly, it’s probably had buyer’s exhaustion,” Mr Lucas said.
“Blackmores had an absolutely stratospheric rise on the China story and it just needs a bit more reason to justify buying into.”
BLACKMORES BIG HALF YEAR PROFIT
* Net profit of $48.3m, up from $18.6m
* Sales revenue up 65.5pct to $341.4m
* Interim dividend up $1.32 to $2 per share