February 21, 2018 / 12:13 PM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Bellamy's Australia half-year profit triples as turnaround plan bears fruit

(Adds progress on turnaround plan, revenue, details about Camperdown)

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Infant formula maker Bellamy’s Australia Ltd announced that first-half profit more than tripled, bolstered by rising demand for its products and lower operating costs, suggesting its turnaround plan was showing results.

Net profit after tax for the six months ended Dec. 31 came in at A$22.4 million ($18 million), up from A$7.2 million a year ago, the company reported on Wednesday.

“The previously announced turnaround programme is on track and the health of the underlying business continues to strengthen,” it said in a statement.

Bellamy’s embarked on a turnaround plan after swinging into the red in fiscal 2017 after China sales were hit by a crackdown on online imports and new regulations requiring foreign vendors to register by 2018.

Revenue during July-December, the first half of the company’s fiscal year, rose nearly 48 percent to A$174.9 million, helped by robust growth in sales volumes.

That did not push up costs related to logistics and warehousing, the company said, thanks to streamlining and restructuring of distribution channels.

However, Bellamy’s said it saw a “small contribution” from its Camperdown Powder manufacturing business, after completing the acquisition of the China-registered Camperdown in January.

It reiterated its guidance given in January that revenues from its core business, excluding Camperdown, will rise by 30 percent to 35 percent for the full fiscal year through June 2018 and that its core earnings margin would rise between 20 percent and 23 percent, from 17 percent to 20 percent.

$1 = 1.2736 Australian dollars Reporting by Chandini Monnappa in Bengaluru; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Susan Fenton

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