Hearing-implant maker Cochlear is the latest large company to commit to paying back JobKeeper wage subsidies.
Releasing its half-year results this morning, the company said it would return $24.6 million in pre-tax COVID-19 government assistance to the Commonwealth, after its sales improved as surgeries returned around the world.
Of this amount, $23.1 million was received from the JobKeeper program.
In a statement, the company said it met the eligibility requirements for the government support programs, including JobKeeper, which provided “an important safety net at a time of great disruption and uncertainty”.
“Trading conditions since July have improved, and while there is still uncertainty ahead, we consider returning the COVID government assistance payments the appropriate thing to do,” the company said.
Cochlear reported a 2% fall in revenue, to $743.2 million, for the first six months of the 2021 financial year, with underlying net profit increasing by 4% to $125.3 million.
Statutory net profit increased by more than 50%, to $236.2 million, however, the company said this was due to one-off events, including government assistance, innovation fund grants and a tax benefit related to patent litigation case.
The company said it will also re-start paying dividends, with its dividend to be set at $1.15, or 60% of underlying profits.