Ansell flags mixed impact from coronavirus, lifts dividend

Rubber glove manufacturer Ansell has predicted that the coronavirus will have "both positive and negative impacts" on its business operations, as demand grows for the personal protective equipment it makes.

The company makes a range of equipment being used by people to combat coronavirus, including gloves, suits and masks. The company said early on Monday that it was working closely with Chinese authorities to "manufacture and allocate protective clothing where it is needed most in China," as it released its first half results.

Ansell lifted its interim dividend by 4.8 per cent.Credit:Michael Clayton Jones

"We currently expect the coronavirus crisis to have both positive and negative impacts on Ansell's business," Ansell chief executive Magnus Nicolin said.

"We are actively supporting the Chinese authorities to provide a significant amount of personal protective equipment which has increased demand for these products. We also expect negative effects due to broader external plant shutdowns in the manufacturing sector, decreased manufacturing production, lower stock levels and potential supply chain disruption which may also have some adverse implications for our customers.

"Overall, we anticipate that the coronavirus crisis will have a minimal net impact to Ansell's fiscal 2020 financial results," he said.

Ansell reported a first half statutory profit of $US65.8 million ($98 million), up 3.5 per cent on the prior corresponding period. Total revenue rose 3.9 per cent to $US753.3 million.

The company lifted its interim dividend 4.8 per cent to US21.75 cents per share. It will be paid on March 12.

Ansell chairman John Bevan said the company was confident that for the current financial year, Ansell would "be able to deliver our 17th year of increased dividends".

Mr Bevan said Ansell was well placed to deliver growth above market rates, thanks to developments like the expansion of a manufacturing plant in Thailand.

Mr Bevan also said Ansell was considering other investments. "M&A assessment remains an active undertaking supplemented by a well-disciplined due diligence approach."

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