Sonic lifts FY profit

Healthcare group increases revenue and profit, expects future earnings growth.

Sonic Healthcare (SHL) expects to grow earnings before interest and tax and decrease net interest expense in the coming year at between 5% on a constant currency basis, after posting a lift in full-year net profit. 

Sonic delivered full-year earnings growth before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 4.5%, just shy of its February forecast for between 5-10%.

The group's profit after tax from ordinary activities attributable to members was $335 million in fiscal 2013, up 6% from $316 million in the previous year.

Sonic's revenue from ordinary activities was $3.48 billion in the year, up 4.1 per cent from $3.35 billion in the previous corresponding period.

The company will pay a final dividend of 37 cents up from 35 cents in the previous corresponding period, of which 16.65 cents is franked, on September 24 with a record date of September 4. Consensus forecasts were for the dividend to be 35.3 cents.

Combined with an interim dividend of 25 cents, Sonic's total dividend for the year is 62 cents, of which 27.9 cents is franked.

Chief executive Dr Goldschmidt said the company was well positioned to benefit from increasing demand in diagnostic services as populations age around the globe, especially since governments are increasingly outsourcing their testing to the private sector.

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