Fisher and Paykel healthcare shares fall

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Fisher and Paykel Healthcare have fallen nearly four per cent after the company cut its full-year operating profit forecast by 16 per cent, citing the strong New Zealand dollar. The breathing device specialist, which earns roughly 60 per cent of its money in US dollars, said the high local currency has cancelled out an increase in sales. Its operating profit for the year to March would be around $57 million compared with previous guidance of $68 million.

Fisher and Paykel Healthcare have fallen nearly four per cent after the company cut its full-year operating profit forecast by 16 per cent, citing the strong New Zealand dollar.

The breathing device specialist, which earns roughly 60 per cent of its money in US dollars, said the high local currency has cancelled out an increase in sales. Its operating profit for the year to March would be around $57 million compared with previous guidance of $68 million.

The company posted a full-year net profit of $57.6m last year, down 18 per cent from the previous year.  Revenue growth would be about 18 per cent higher in US dollar terms, or two per cent higher in New Zealand dollar terms, at about $355 million, the company said.

Macquarie Equities institutional adviser Arthur Lim said his brokerage viewed the guidance as a real downgrade. But it still gave the company an "outperform" rating because it was a solid and smart operator.

"It is one of the most sensitive stocks in the New Zealand market in terms of the NZD-USD exchange rate. If the New Zealand dollar was to fall, then we would expect their earnings to grow exponentially." They can look to source more of their input costs in US dollars, but being such a high margin business, it's hard to heavily fully hedge.

"So they are to a certain extent at the mercy of something beyond their control. Otherwise I think there is acceptance it is a very good company and they are in the right sector, right product area, but in common with other New Zealand companies, they are being battered by the New Zealand currency."

Chief executive Michael Daniell said the company had enjoyed "robust" operating revenue growth in the second half in US dollar terms, particularly in its respiratory and acute products. The new financial year had started with a number of orders on the books and it expected to see demand continuing to increase.

Since the start of Fisher and Paykel's last financial year, the New Zealand dollar has risen 11.5 per cent to hover near US80c.

The company says every one percentage point the Kiwi gains against the US dollar costs the company about $2.5 million in operating profit.

Shares in Fisher and Paykel Healthcare, a top-10 company, closed down 12c to $2.93.