Ekocorp, the healthcare company is headed for outstanding growth in profit this year with its impressive first quarter outing. The company has maintained stable growth in turnover and profit over the years and an accelerated growth looks likely for it this year. The improved profit outlook follows accelerating growth in revenue and a major gain in profit margin.
The company’s management shows a trend of consistently growing wealth for shareholders with a stable record of improving profit and earnings per share. It looks confident of taking the company’s earnings quality to a new peak at the end of 2014.
The company closed first quarter operations with a net profit of N58 million, which is a rise of 61.1% year-on-year. Based on the first quarter growth rate, after tax profit is projected at N241.5 million for Ekocorp at full year. This will be an increase of 58% over the full year net profit figure of N153 million the company posted at the end of 2013. It will be an accelerated growth from the improvement of 17% in profit recorded in 2013.
The company has maintained stable growth in profit over the past five years. The strength in profit performance is built on sustaining growth in turnover and a continuing improvement in profit margin – indicators of a growth company.
Turnover amounted to N305.5 million for the company at the end of the first quarter, which 10.2% up from the corresponding figure last year. Based on the first quarter growth rate, turnover is projected at N1.41 billion for Ekocorp in the 2014 financial year. This will be an increase of 16.5% over the full year revenue figure of N1.22 billion the company generated in 2013.
Revenue is therefore expected to grow twice as fast as the 8.1% improvement recorded in the preceding year. The company has maintained a continuing growth in revenue over the past five years.
Accelerating growth in revenue is accompanied by a continuing improvement in profit margin. The company is therefore showing strength in converting assets into revenue and in converting revenue into profit. At 19% in the first quarter, net profit margin has attained a new peak from 13% in the corresponding period last year. It represents a major improvement also from the net profit margin of 12.6% recorded at the end of 2013.
The gain in profit margin in the first quarter came exclusively from moderation of cost of sales. Against the 10.2% increase in turnover, cost of sales declined marginally, which lifted gross profit by 32% to N121 million. The cost saving here more than compensated for the 12.6% increase in total operating expenses.
The company earned 11 kobo per share in the first quarter, up from 7 kobo in the corresponding quarter last year. Earnings per share is projected at 48 kobo for Ekocorp at the end of 2014. The company earned 31 kobo per share in the 2013 financial year.
Major developments in the company’s balance sheet during the first quarter include the appearances of a short-term loan of N41 million and a bank overdraft facility of N28 million. Debtors/prepayments grew by 147.7% to N513.7 million, cash and bank balances advanced by over 182% to N55.3 million and creditors and accruals rose by 140.3% to N149 million. Net assets per share amounted to N4.63 at the end of the first quarter.
The company’s cash flow position has improved with a net increase in cash balances of N7.71 million in the first quarter against a decrease of N5.95 million in the corresponding period last year. The improvement follows a drop in net cash outflow from investing activities from N19.13 million to N4.65 million during the review period.