Retailer Vita Group, the operator of Telstra stores across the country, has recorded a 26 per cent increase in half-year net profit to $14.1 million as it expanded into skincare clinics.
The company, which in December extended its deal to run the telco-branded stores and business centres until 2024, said revenue increased 14 per cent to $377 million in the six months to December 31.
Vita opened 10 outlets under its non-invasive medical aesthetics brand Artisan Aesthetic Clinics in Queensland, NSW and the ACT after acquiring a cosmetic injectables training organisation and a skin treatment business in November.
"These investments in capability will enhance the group's medical and operational competencies, and will enable the business to scale further, building revenues and profitability," the company said.
The group also acquired Cosmedcloud, a provider of cloud-based software solutions for cosmetic doctors, nurses and plastic surgeons, in January.
Vita's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the half-year increased 25 per cent to $25.0 million, above its October 2018 guidance range of $23.0 million to $24.5 million.
Chief executive Maxine Horne said Vita's tech gadget accessories brand Sprout was the stand-out performer for the group.
"We are really pleased to deliver such a strong performance, despite tough conditions in the ICT (information and communications technology) industry," Ms Horne said.
The company also said it was changing to a new "operating model" in its Telstra relationship, with the retailer to run bigger business centres for "larger, higher value customers and with a lower cost to serve".
"Our long-term strategic partnership with Telstra remains strong and we will continue to invest in our retail and business channels and enjoy continued profitability and cash flow from this part of our business," Ms Horne said.
Vita increased its interim dividend to 5.0 cents per share, fully franked.
Its shares were up 8.33 per cent to $1.49 at 1135 AEDT on Friday, rising to an 11-month high but down from a peak of $5.35 in September 2016.
VITA H1 PROFIT LIFTS
* Half-year net profit up 26 pct to $14.1m
* Revenue up 14 pct to $377m
* Interim dividend up 0.5 cents to 5.2 cents per share, fully franked, from a year earlier