MIDDAY UPDATE: Xero shares slip as full-year loss flagged

Nov. 15 (BusinessDesk) – Shares of Xero, the cloud-based accounting service, fell 2.6 percent after it posted a wider first-half loss and said it would keep spending to build sales after more than doubling its global customer base.

The shares dropped 16 cents to $6.08 after the first half results showed a loss of was $7 million, up from a loss of $3.7 million a year earlier. Sales soared 119 percent to $17.3 million, closely followed by a 105 percent jump in operating expenses to $22.8 million.

Xero expects to double operating revenue in the full year, when it will post a second-half loss bigger than the first half loss.

“We have $30.6 million of cash on hand and the ability to raise significantly more cash if required,” said chief executive Rod Drury. “The transition of the accounting industry into the cloud is in full swing and we are very well positioned.

“We believe it is in the best interests of shareholders to continue to grow the business aggressively,” he said.

Ryman Healthcare posts 15% gain in first-half profit, on track for FY gain

Ryman Healthcare, the retirement village operator whose shares jumped 51 percent this year, posted a 15 percent gain in first-half profit and bumped up its dividend as fee income grew. The shares climbed 1.7 percent to $4.15 and have gained 51 percent this year.

Profit rose to $68.8 million, or 13.8 cents a share, in the six months ended Sept. 30, from $59.6 million, or 11.9 cents a year earlier, the Christchurch-based company said in a statement. Revenue rose 19 percent to $87.9 million.

Ryman’s total retirement village units and care beds rose to 5,882 in the first half, from 5,107 a year earlier and it has another 2,295 units equivalent to be developed. In the latest period it completed its Diana Isaac Retirement Village in Christchurch. The company also gained approvals to build its first village in Melbourne.

“We are trading well and we’re on track to achieve our target 15 percent underlying profit growth for the full year,” said chairman David Kerr. “We’ve invested heavily in new aged care and retirement communities over the past 18 months and we are seeing some reward for that commitment.”

Ryman will pay a first-half dividend of 4.6 cents a share, up 18 percent from a year earlier.

Manufacturing sentiment stabilises after 'big wobble'

Bank of New Zealand economists are drawing solace from a move back into positive territory for its closely watched Performance of Manufacturing Index, which was one of the few leading indicators to foreshadow the sharp rise in September quarter unemployment.

Published in conjunction with lobby group Business New Zealand, the PMI clocked in at 50.5 in October, an improvement of two points in September. A score above 50 indicates expansion, while a figure below 50 indicates contraction in activity.

The index fell sharply between May and August, in what can now be seen as an early warning of a sudden deterioriation in economic conditions following a relatively strong start to 2012.

BNZ economist Craig Ebert described the result as cause for "relief" rather than optimism, and "simply giving hope that the sector is stabilising, having been through a rough patch in the preceding few months."

Rakon shares drop after company posts $3.96M loss

Smartphone equipment maker Rakon saw its loss for the six months to Sept. 30 widen to $3.96 million, as revenues fell and operating expenses rose during a period of sluggish growth in major markets.

The result is a blow-out from the $259,000 loss reported for the same six months last year, with revenues of $89.4 million down $5 million on the same period a year earlier, albeit a $6 million improvement on sales in the second half of the last financial year, the company said in a statement to the NZX.

Rakon shares fell 4.4 percent to 43 cents at the open of trading on the NZX. Over the last year, the shares have fallen 34.9 percent.

(BusinessDesk)

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