Business

Metlifecare makes $304.4m net profit in turnaround after loss, plans new $150m village

Delisted retirement giant Metlifecare has made a big profit turnaround due to revaluations and bought a 20ha site at Clevedon where the $4 billion business plans a $150 million village.

Earl Gasparich, who replaced Glen Sowry as the company’s chief executive, announced a $304.4m net profit after tax after last year’s loss, driven primarily by $335m revaluation gains.

Gasparich, previously CEO of Oceania Healthcare, said the new village would be Clevedon’s first and part of an active development programme with four large North Island villages planned or under construction.

Metlifecare was delisted from the NZX and ASX on November 3, after Swedish investment firm EQT Partners made a $1.27b takeover for all the shares via its Asia Pacific Village Group.

The company is one of the big six retirement village operators in New Zealand and its new project is at 17 Clevedon Kawakawa Rd, 30 minutes south of Auckland.

Metlifecare, which already houses 5500 residents, plans 130 independent villas and apartments and a 60-bed hospital on its new site.

Gasparich said it had worked with iwi, business association and community members on the design and resource consent process.

The company has 26 villages and is developing four new ones. Construction is under way at Orion Point and Fairway Gardens in Auckland, a site has been purchased at Havelock North, and now Clevedon is planned.

Last week, the company reported a net profit after tax of $304.4m for the year to June 30, 2021, up from last year’s $33.7m loss. Statutory operating cash flow was $119.3m, up from $116m. Total assets of $4.078b are up from $3.571b. Total equity $1.842b is up from $1.533b.

Net gearing remains almost static at 16.6 per cent compared with 16.9 per cent last year. During the June 2021 financial year, the business opened its new Beachlands village, Pohutukawa Landing.

Gasparich said the result reflected several achievements Metlifecare had made during the year, although the company also noted the revaluation gains that boosted the bottom line so much.

“We are proud of the way everyone – staff and residents alike – have adapted and looked after each other’s safety and wellbeing during a year of intermittent Covid-19 restrictions. Our strong operating performance has highlighted the wide appeal of Metlifecare’s villages and aged care facilities, where we experienced record levels of demand and strong occupancy across all of our villages,” he said.

Pohutukawa Landing opened in June, he said.

Operating revenue was $143.5m, 7 per cent higher than the June 30, 2020 year due to continued growth in care revenue and higher deferred management fees, he said.

This, together with a 21 per cent increase in realised resales gains, grew statutory operating cash flow to $119.3m for the year.

Metlifecare repaid its $6.8m wage subsidy received late in the previous financial year.The company believed this was the appropriate action given Metlifecare’s financial position, and reflected the spirit of the scheme.

Reported net profit after tax of $304.4m was driven primarily by a fair value gain on its investment property portfolio of $335.5m, the company said in its August 20 statement.

“The strong increase in the value of Metlifecare’s investment property reflects the reversal of Covid-19-related property valuation assumptions applied in the prior year and completion of new developments at Pohutukawa Landing,” the statement says.

The company had $171m invested in development activities.

“We welcomed the first residents to our new Pohutukawa Landing village in Beachlands as well as making solid progress on five large-scale project developments. These developments include two new villages at Fairway Gardens (Botany, Auckland) and Orion Point (Hobsonville Point, Auckland), both due to open in FY22, and new homes and community amenities at Pohutukawa Landing and Gulf Rise (Red Beach, Hibiscus Coast),” Gasparich said.

“We are also looking forward to completing a multi-year regeneration project at Edgewater village (Pakuranga, Auckland) in FY22, which will transform the site with a new community centre, care home and independent living apartments.”

Metlifecare had further sites in Havelock North and south Auckland.

“Our goal is to significantly increase our build rate, and we have made significant progress to deliver this. We look forward to sharing more exciting development and land acquisition news in the coming months,” Gasparich said last week.

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