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Vision Group Holding reports half yearly net profit decrease of 37% PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 17 February 2009
Vision Group Holding's revenue increased 2% to $55.1m compared to the first half of 2008, with non-discretionary revenue up 6% and discretionary revenue down 17%. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) decreased 19% to $12.3m. On a normalised basis, EBIT was $13.9m, down 10% on the prior year (normalised EBIT excludes senior executive termination expenses). The normalised EBIT margin was 25% for the period, compared to 29% in the first half of 2008, although, EBIT margins for non-discretionary revenue remained stable. Normalised Net Profit after Tax decreased by 24% to $6.2m. Free cash flow improved primarily due to tighter management of working capital and timing of cash collections.

Whilst discretionary/refractive revenues have declined, Vision Group continues to experience solid growth in the treatment of non-discretionary conditions (e.g. retina, cataract and glaucoma). Refractive revenues now account for 15% of total revenues. Whilst the decline in refractive revenues has impacted EBIT margins due to the high margins of this procedure, continued focus and investment on driving non-discretionary revenue streams will help insulate Vision Group from the more consumer sensitive revenue streams of refractive surgery in future periods.

The Board considers that maintenance of balance sheet strength and flexibility is a high priority for the company in the current economic climate and has declared an interim dividend, fully franked, of 2.5 cents per share payable on 8 April 2009. The reduced dividend will enable the pay down of debt in future periods and help support prudent investment in non-discretionary growth opportunities.

The Vision Group strategy of locating and investing in clinics in regions with aging and growing population demographics continues to drive solid growth in non-discretionary revenues. The Company continues to invest in new Doctor Partners to support this strategy and Victorian total revenues grew by 11% with strong growth in non-discretionary revenues. Queensland and New South Wales non-discretionary revenue growth was also maintained.

Vision Group is also well positioned for longer term growth of non-discretionary revenues, with the Vision Eye Institute Varsity Lakes commencing full consulting services and positioned to capture the growing retinal opportunity in South East Queensland. Macular degeneration is one of the most common causes of vision loss in Australia and the Vision Eye Institute’s new facilities are equipped with the latest technology for treating and managing this condition. Vision Group’s Rivercity retinal practice is also growing, with an expanded and new, state of the art retinal clinic opening this March in Brisbane.

Vision Group continues to develop its base of doctors with the number of Doctor Partners growing from 40 to 46. The growth in new partners is coming from younger ophthalmologists who are building practices with growing patient bases and practice revenues. Vision Group now has an improved balance between doctors with developing and established revenue streams.

Against a background of the global financial crisis and slowing economic growth, Vision Group is focused on improving operational performance and margin improvement to help off-set the impact of slowing discretionary or refractive revenues. In H2:09 Vision Group has implemented a head count freeze and realigned investment strategies to maximise EBIT and reduce debt. Along with a common branding strategy, Vision Group is reviewing promotional investment and has reduced traditional “above the line” advertising and promotional investment and has implemented a more cost effective on-line marketing program. Despite difficult economic circumstances, Vision Group has also seen an improvement in cash flow resulting from better management of working capital and timing of cash collections.
Royal Australasian College of Physicians appounts new CEO PDF
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Australian News
Monday, 09 February 2009
Dr Jennifer Alexander, one of Australia’s leading health administrators and management practitioners, has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP). The College trains, educates and represents around 10,500 physicians (or specialists) and 4,000 trainees in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Alexander comes to the RACP after almost five years as CEO of the Australian Institute of Management (NSW & ACT). She is a registered medical practitioner with degrees in health planning and commerce.

The RACP will benefit from Dr Alexander’s 30-year career in the health industry, including roles in medical administration, general management, management development and leadership.

Dr Alexander has been Medical Director and Deputy CEO of St. Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney, General Superintendent (CEO) of Westmead Hospital and Community Health Services and has served as a non- executive director on various boards, including the NSW Medical Board, Medibank Private, the Health Insurance Commission and Health Communication Network.

Before joining the Australian Institute of Management in 2004, Dr Alexander was CEO of the Health Leader’s Network (HLN), an initiative of the Australian Health Minister’s Advisory Council (AHMAC) and the New Zealand Ministry of Health.

Dr Alexander’s commitment to medical education and professional development is a hallmark of her career and a passion she brings to her role with the RACP.

Dr Alexander takes up her role with the RACP in April, though she has already put her mind to those issues she sees as key to role.
Specsavers ANZ appoints Smart as its advertising agency PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 06 February 2009
Specsavers has appointed advertising agency Smart following a competitive pitch for the optician’s ad account, ahead of a planned expansion of the brand in Australia and New Zealand.

Specsavers now has more than 150 stores across Australia and New Zealand, with further significant expansion plans both in Australia and NZ for this year.

Smart has already commenced working with the Specsavers team and their media agency, Mediacom, to evolve the retailers’ online brand strategy.
ODMAFAIR 2009 Continues to Exceed Industry Expectations PDF
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Australian News
Friday, 06 February 2009
Trade contemplating organising their visit to ODMAFAIR can be confident they’ll discover the latest fashion trends from the hottest eyewear manufacturers - from high-end couture designers through to boutique for fashion-forward lines from around the world. And attendees will still see cutting-edge technology and equipment, allowing them to source the best for their business.

Regine Vandenberg, managing director of ODMA’s Fair organiser, Exhibition Management Pty Ltd advises, “even in the face of these challenging economic times, ODMAFAIR is firmly placed to continue to provide a strong, proven platform for eyecare professionals to network and get business done. As Vision Expo West in the US shows, despite unsettling economic news optical retailers and practitioners seized the day and got back to the basics of buying and selling.”

“With the level of interest being shown, we expect the Fair to be equally as busy as it has in the past showings and, more importantly, with space freed up visitors can look forward to a range of newer, fresher exhibits.

Despite the economic outlook, from the feedback we’re getting the industry seems poised to grow due to innovations in lens technology and the introduction of exciting new frame brands. We’re getting a lot of smaller, niche suppliers coming on board that are set to excite visitors to the Fair too,” she added.
Fred Hollows Foundation's Reconcilation Action Plan now available PDF
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Australian News
Wednesday, 04 February 2009
The late Professor Fred Hollows enjoyed a genuine and cherished bond with many Indigenous Australians and strongly supported the rights and aspirations of the First Peoples of this land.

Fred was a man of action and used his skills as a doctor and advocate to mobilise eye health campaigns and to support the establishment of Aboriginal-controlled health services that were then in their infancy.

While The Foundation is renown internationally for our work to treat cataract and other forms of avoidable blindness, our Indigenous Program in Australia has always acknowledged the full range of health priorities in Indigenous communities and placed emphasis on addressing the social determinants of health as well as the specific area of eye health.

We understand that we are privileged by our history and special relationship with Indigenous communities and we welcome opportunities to continue to learn and share experiences along the path to reconciliation.

The Foundation's Reconciliation Action Plan:
  • Reaffirms The Foundation’s commitment to work in respectful, two-way partnerships with Indigenous Australians to close the gap in health status and life expectancy between Indigenous Australians and other Australians through initiatives determined and supported by Indigenous people themselves and their representative organisations
  • Confirms our support for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Identifies the ways in which we will celebrate, respect and promote Indigenous Australian culture, rights and perspectives throughout our organisation
  • Values the opportunity to share learning and support new and respectful relationships between Indigenous Australian communities and Australian governments, non-government organisations and the Australian community as a whole.

For more information, download The Foundation's Reconciliation Action Plan. The Foundation encourages other organisations to develop their own plan.
Chief Financial Officer of Vision Group resigns PDF
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Australian News
Tuesday, 03 February 2009
Vision Group Holdings Limited advises the resignation of the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and joint Company Secretary, Mr Mark Hansen, effective from 27 February 2009.

Mark has served the company well for almost seven years; overseeing its early development and listing on the Australian Stock Exchange in 2004. His ability has contributed to Vision Group’s current strong financial position and good prospects. Mark has decided to depart the company to pursue other opportunities and we would like to thank Mark for all he has achieved at Vision Group.

The company has commenced an executive search for Mark’s successor, and until an appointment is made, Mr Geoff Thompson will act as interim CFO. Geoff has been responsible for Vision Group’s plastic surgery strategy over the last 6 months and has developed a good understanding of all aspects of the company’s financial operations. Geoff is a Chartered Accountant with significant public company CFO and healthcare sector experience. Mr John Osborne will continue in the role as Company Secretary.
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