UPDATE 1-NZ's a2 Milk Co says 2018 revenue grew about 68 pct to $623 mln

(Adds further details, background, stock performance) July 12 (Reuters) – New Zealand dairy product maker a2 Milk Company said on Thursday its fiscal 2018 unaudited group revenue grew about 68 percent to around NZ$922 million ($623 million). The ratio of underlying earnings to sales for the same period is expected to be about 30 percent, it said in a statement.
The firm added that the ratio would remain around the same level in fiscal 2019 despite higher expected overhead costs in that period on a rising headcount for China and the corporate office as the company gains size. a2 expects to spend a greater portion of its revenue on marketing than in fiscal 2018 to continue investing in Australia and to support its expansion in the United States.
The firm announced its expansion into the north east region of the U.S.
in January, which it said at the time would increase its products’ reach to potentially 5,000 retail stores across the country. a2’s New Zealand-listed stock is up more than 45 percent in the year to Wednesday’s close, after soaring over 278 percent in 2017.
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