First-half earnings roundup: Navitas, Reckon, Transurban and Cochlear

Today kicks off the February earnings season, when ASX-listed companies post their mid-financial year results. Today we saw results from Navitas, Reckon, Transurban and Cochlear.

Navitas

The educational-services provider posted a flat net profit ($35.1 million this year compared to $35.4 million this time last year) in the first half of the 2012-13 financial year, citing depreciation charges and “a low effective tax rate”.

Revenue rose 4% to $355.4 million.

Navitas said it was seeing benefits from a recent restructure, and student enrolments were growing.

“All of these factors should support improvement in FY13 with more significant growth from FY14, as student volumes continue to grow across core divisions and margins improve,” chief executive Rod Jones said in a statement.

Reckon

Accounting software maker Reckon posted a net profit after tax of $17.8 million, up 6%. Its revenues rose 7% to $96.8 million.

The company is launching its first entirely online product next quarter.

Managing director Clive Rabie told The Australian Financial Review the product target micro-businesses, a market dominated by rival software-maker Xero.

Rabie said his product would offer more flexibility to customers: “You will be able to build your product based on whatever functionality you want, so if you don’t need much functionality you’ll pay less but if you want all the functionality because you are fully-fledged, you’ll be paying the kind of product prices that they’re charging.”

Transurban

Toll road operator Transurban posted a fall in first-half earnings for the first half of the 2012-13 financial year, booking a net profit of $80.9 million compared to $93.2 million the year before.

However, EBITDA was up 7% to $416.9 million, due to steady population growth in Sydney and Melbourne as well as low unemployment levels leading to a steady flow of traffic on Transurban’s toll roads.

Dow Jones newswires report EBITDA is a better measure of financial performance for companies such as Transurban, as high development and acquisition costs can dilute profits in early years while delivering more value over time.

Cochlear

Cochlear posted a much-improved net profit for the first half of the financial year, after a costly product recall sapped earnings in 2011-12.

Cochlear reported $77.7 million in net profits, up from a $22.4 million loss this time last year. Total revenue rose 1% to $391.7 million. The company also reported Cochlear implant unit sales rose 27% in the first half of the year.

CEO Chris Roberts said in a statement it was a “pleasing result” given challenges such as the high Australian dollar. 

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