A key supplier of gloves and safety equipment to the construction and other industries as well as sexual wellness products in Australia has lifted profit as improving industrial conditions in the US and Europe offset a slowdown in industrial demand in Australia, Russia and Turkey and the company’s medical and healthcare unit delivered its strongest result in six years.
In its latest announcement, Melbourne based Ansell Ltd said its first half profit attributable to shareholders rose 15 percent from $US57.1 million to $US65.6 million.
Driving the result was the company’s gloves division, whereby earnings before interest and tax rose from $US 17.2 million to $22.2 million the group’s medical division, from $US38.1 billion to $US42.2 billion in industrial and from $2.6 billion to $5.6 billion in speciality markets.
Earnings fell from $14.5 billion to $12.1 million, meanwhile, in Ansell’s sexual health and well-being unit, in which it makes condoms and other sex related products.
In terms of its construction offering, Ansell makes a range of gloves including its chemical resistant AlphaTec 58-270 model (light assembly in chemical environments, used for handling paints, adhesives, oil, petrol etc.), its cut-resistant ActiveAvrmᶱ97-002 (HVAC maintenance and repair) and the heavy labouring ActiveArmrᶱ97-003.
Elsewhere in its industrial division, the company also serves the tradespeople and DIY markets as well as food, industrial, mining and transport.
The company says improved performance in this area has been underpinned by new product launches as well as improving conditions in North America and Europe.
Elsewhere, the company’s medical unit lifted profit by more than a quarter amid strong growth in surgical products (surgical gloves), a turnaround in examination products and as the company’s synthetic product lines benefit from an industry-wide movement away from natural rubber latex products.
The company has also been active on the acquisition trail, snapping up Korean cut-resistant glove specialist Midas Co. Ltd for $US41.1 million last September followed by North American single-use glove maker BarrierSafe Solutions International for $US615 million in November.
Company CEO Magnus Nicolin welcomed the result, saying organic growth rates had lifted whilst the Midas and BarrierSafe acquisitions would boost scale as well as vertical and geographical positions across the company’s portfolio.
“Our results in the first half of F’14 fiscal year show clear evidence of improving growth rates as we execute our strategy and strategic vision for the company” Nicolin says.
Going forward, the company says although its medical business is expected to perform well but the outlook for industrial remained mixed – especially in $US terms as currencies in emerging markets have weakened.