Ansell on track to lift earnings

Medical gloves and condom maker Ansell says it is on track to lift its earnings despite suffering a sales slowdown.

CEO Magnus Nicolin said Australian economy "more fortunate" than rest of world, and condom and glove maker focused on emerging markets, innovation and mergers and acquisitions.

Mr Nicolin said the sexual wellness arm was the star performer in the 2012 fiscal year and new women's "intimate freshness line" in Australia "seems to be working nicely."

While benefits had begun to flow from improvements made to Ansell's new product delivery system, made under Project Fusion, they had been offset by economic weakness in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, he said.

The CEO said despite the "rather tough environment", Ansell's full-year guidance is "sustainable"; that is, the company expects mid to double-digit growth in earnings before interest.

In slides accompanying his speech, Mr Nicolin said that while first half earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) would be affected by those factors, Ansell still expected to deliver EBIT growth in 2012/13 close to the double-digit levels seen last financial year.


The forecast excludes an expected positive contribution from Comasec, the French protective glove maker Ansell recently bought for $118 million.

Mr Nicolin also reiterated the earnings per share (EPS) guidance Ansell provided in August when it unveiled a six per cent rise in net profit to $130 million for 2011/12. He said Ansell expected mid-single to low-double digit EPS growth this financial year.

Meanwhile, outgoing chairman Peter Barnes said Ansell remained on the hunt for acquisitions.

The company revealed in August it had a $200 million warchest for acquisitions.

Mr Barnes said that while Ansell had returned $930 million to shareholders since the 2003 financial year, its preference was to enhance shareholder value "through attractive acquisitions that expand the company's product portfolio and geographic reach".

Mr Barnes, who was to step down from his post at the end of the meeting, is being replaced by director Glenn Barnes.

Ansell's shares were one cent higher at $16.17 at 10.33am AEST.

With AAP