NZ's F&P Healthcare H1 profit up 18 pct, ups outlook

WELLINGTON Wed Nov 21, 2012 3:12pm EST

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WELLINGTON Nov 22 (Reuters) - New Zealand medical equipment manufacturer Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Ltd posted better-than-expected first-half profits on Thursday due to higher revenues and improving margins, and raised its profit outlook for the year.

The maker of devices to treat respiratory problems and sleep disorders, posted a net profit of NZ$33.3 million ($27.3 million) in the six months to Sept. 30, higher than analyst expectations for around NZ$32.6 million.

Profits rose 18 percent from a year ago, and compared with guidance of NZ$31 million given in August by the top-10 company which was created from the split of New Zealand manufacturing pioneer Fisher & Paykel Industries in 2001.

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare declared a dividend of 5.4 cents per share, unchanged from a year ago, and raised its full year guidance to between NZ$69 million and NZ$72 million.

That compared with its previous guidance of NZ$65 million-NZ$69 million.

Shares in the firm closed at NZ$2.44 on Wednesday, having hit an eight-month high of NZ$2.47 earlier this month. So far this year, shares have fallen nearly 3 percent, against a 21 percent gain for the benchmark NZ50 index

Fisher & Paykel Healthcare earns roughly two-thirds of its revenue from the United States, where it competes against rivals such as ResMed Inc. (Reporting by Naomi Tajitsu)

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