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Asaleo Care beats prospectus with 18% gain in full-year profit

Asaleo Care, the maker of household brands such as Libra, Sorbent, Purex and Treasures that debuted on the ASX last year, posted an 18 percent gain in full-year profit, beating its prospectus forecast, and said it expects "low to mid single digit growth" in 2015.

Profit rose to A$72.3 million in 2014, from A$61.4 million a year earlier, the nappy, toilet paper and tampon maker said in pro-forma figures released to the ASX. Sales rose 0.8 percent to about A$630 million, which was 1.9 percent below prospectus forecast.

Asaleo's assets include the tissue business of Carter Holt Harvey, acquired in 2004, and other Australasian paper assets that date back to early last century. The business was 100 percent owned by Sweden's Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget (SCA) in 2004 and SCA sold 49.5 percent in 2012 to private equity firm Pacific Equity Partnership, which exited its stake in last year's IPO. SCA sold down to 33 percent in the IPO, which raised A$656 million at A$1.65 a share. The stock has gained about 10 percent since then, to trade today at A$1.82 today.

The company's personal care division lifted sales by 7.4 percent, while pro-forma earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose about 10 percent. Sales were driven by an 8.5 percent gain for incontinence hygiene products, 2.4 percent for feminine hygiene and 19.6 percent for baby hygiene.

"Following market share gains in 2014, Tena became market leader in incontinence hygiene in the retail market in Australasia, and Libra remains the market leader in feminine hygiene," the company said.

Sales fell 2 percent at its tissue business, which the company said reflected supply constraints in the first half and promotions in the second half to regain market share. Pro-forma earnings for its tissue business rose 16 percent.

The company will pay a dividend of 5.4 Australian cents a share, which is 12 percent above prospectus guidance.