New Zealand’s largest village and aged care operator has further committed to its Australian expansion, announcing it will recruit a CEO for its Australian operations.
Ryman looking for more sites in Australia
Chief Executive Gordon MacLeod (pictured above) tells us that the appointment recognises the scale that Ryman’s current operations have reached and the potential growth ahead.
“Across New Zealand and Victoria, we have 12 villages coming onstream and more on the way which gives us a strong platform for growth,” he said.
“We have another five villages to build in Victoria, and we are committed to looking for more sites in Victoria, and beyond.”
Ryman now has more than 750 residents at its three Victorian villages, 550 village, construction and sales/office staff, and another two villages due to open by the end of the year – just six weeks away.
COVID hits sales and profits
The confidence comes off the back of some solid full year results for the operator despite the pandemic.
Ryman reported an unaudited first half underlying profit of $88.4 million, a fall of 14.2% which it attributes to the impact of COVID-19.
However, its reported (IFRS) profit grew 12.8% to $212.4 million in the six months to September 30 – from $188.3 million the previous year – on the back of $124.1 million in investment property revaluations.
Shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 8.8 cents per share, representing 50% of underlying profit, to be paid out before Christmas.
Mr MacLeod said COVID had severely restricted trading activity in Victoria for six months, and for more than two months in New Zealand even though there were no COVID cases among its residents.
$275 million in new sales expected over six months
With lockdown restrictions at an end in Victoria and a buoyant housing market in New Zealand, he says the company was now expecting conditions to improve in the second half with a record number of new villages in the pipeline to take advantage of the recovery.
“We are anticipating cash collections of at least $275 million in the second half from new sales. With 12 villages in progress and more on the way, we will be creating more than 2,000 jobs as well as homes and care for more than 4,000 residents,” he said.
Ryman also experienced strong demand during the pandemic, with care occupancy in established villages staying at 97% and only 1.9% of the retirement village portfolio available for resale at 30 September.
Five villages open in Victoria by 31 December still a possibility
The CEO said the focus in 2021 will be on delivering new villages to meet this demand, with Ryman endeavouring to hit its target of having five villages open in Victoria by 31 December, although there is potential for this to be slightly delayed because of COVID-19.
“It was a stretch target when we set it five years ago and it will be a significant achievement by the team,” Mr MacLeod conceded. “We have built an outstanding record for care and reputation for quality in Victoria and we think this will serve us well in the recovery.’”
Ryman has 39 retirement villages, 12,000 residents and 6,100 staff across New Zealand and Victoria with total assets of $8.34 billion, up 14.9% on September last year.