[22 August/The Country]

Natural health products company, Comvita, saw its shares jump 10% after it beat full year guidance and said it expects to return to profit in the current financial year. The company which uses Manuka honey a core ingredient, reported an after tax operating loss of $5.5 million for the year to June compared to a forecast loss of $7 million. The better than forecast result was due to a stronger than expected second half of the year as the grey channel into China showed signs of recovery. The first half result had been heavily impacted by the Chinese government trying to curtail this channel. CEO, Scott Coulter, said that there had been a real rebound in grey channel sales and this momentum had continued into the new year, adding that this recovery linked with permanent cost savings and new marketing initiatives provides good confidence heading into 2018. Comvita has spent a lot of time building new business relations in South East Asia and North America which are expected to benefit the company in the current year. The Group’s joint venture in China became operational on 1 July and this is expected to contribute towards earnings immediately. Revenues from innovation products were also positive with more growth expected in the current year.