Fisher & Paykel Healthcare's annual net profit jumped to a record 82%, driven by sales of its nasal high-flow therapy machines and related consumables used in hospitals to assist breathing.

The company said sales of these products tracked surges in covid-19 hospitalisation rates around the world.

Net profit for the year ended March rose to $524.2 million from $287.3m the previous year.

Underlining the strength of the result, the constant currency increase was an even higher 94%.

The company's board has decided to reward staff with a $29m profit-sharing bonus.

Revenue for the hospital products group rose 87% to $1.5 billion, accounting for 76% of total revenue of $1.97b.

Chief executive Lewis Gradon said it was an "unprecedented result" for the hospital division but that its homecare division also lifted sales, despite covid-19 delivering headwinds.

"Although covid-19 restrictions impacted sleep clinics and reduced obstructive sleep apnea diagnosis rates, revenue for the homecare group was $466m, an increase of 2% over the previous year, or 4% in constant currency," Gradon said.

But gross margin fell 2.95 percentage points to 63%, reflecting increased freight costs, including high use of air freight.

"Freight and additional covid-19-related costs were offset by overhead leverage due to volume increases outpacing cost growth during the year," Gradon said.

"To recognise the incredible contributions of our people, the board has approved a profit-sharing bonus totalling $29m for the 2021 financial year to be paid to everyone who has worked with us for a qualifying period," he said.

Charity established

The company also committed $20m to establish the Fisher & Paykel Healthcare Foundation, whose charitable purposes include supporting and funding health research and programmes that improve access to healthcare. The company's donations for the year, including products, was $26m.

Fisher & Paykel will pay a final dividend of 22 cents per share, up 42% on last year's final dividend and taking the annual payout to 38c, up 38%.

Gradon said the company won't provide guidance because of the ongoing uncertainties of vaccinations, lockdowns, covid-19 variants and localised waves of hospitalisation rates.

"We expect our hospital and homecare revenue for full-year 2022 to be impacted by the number of covid-19-related hospitalisations around the world," Gradon said.

"There is a wide range of scenarios for both the timing of a 'return to normal' and to what extent a return to normal includes covid-19 endemic hospitalisations," he said.

"It is unclear at this stage when and if other respiratory hospitalisations and surgical procedures will return to pre-covid levels or whether countries will increase their investment in healthcare infrastructure."

Fisher & Paykel shares closed yesterday at $31.38 and are up 5.3% on a year ago.