Moa stresses it has no undisclosed plans

Article – BusinessDesk

Moa stresses it has no undisclosed plans

By Pattrick Smellie

July 29 (BusinessDesk) – Shareholders of NZX-listed beer-maker Moa Breweries have been assured again that the company has no “specific plans for corporate activity to talk about”.

Moa chairman Ashley Waugh used his speech to the annual meeting in Auckland to reiterate the company’s message after the exchange operator issued a ‘please explain’ notice on July 13 following a 47.5 percent jump in the share price to 87 cents. The shares were trading up slightly at 90 cents today, having listed at $1.25 in 2012.

One of the company’s executive directors, David Poole, who is Moa’s salesperson in Australia, had been buying shares at the time of the sharp rise.

Waugh said today that “within the category, there are clearly going to be strategic options. We as a board are always thinking about our options.As we speak to you today, we can asssure you that we do not have any specific plans for corporate activity to talk about. Your board is well aware of its responsibilities in terms of continuous disclosure.”

After suffering distribution problems early in its life as a listed company, Moa has more recently been grappling with inventory control, Waugh told the meeting. It had run out of some of its newly launched, high value specialty range while being oversupplied in its ‘Originals’ and ‘Classic’ ranges. The company has invested in Sage, a UK accounting software that New Zealand’s Xero is challenging in Britain, to help sales and operational planning.

Moa reduced its loss in the year to March 31 to $2.9 million, compared $5.6 million the previous year. Sales rose 35 percent to $8.2 million while total operating costs fell.

However, there was still “a way to go to reach a breakeven year,” said Waugh, noting a halving of cash burn in the last financial year. The company continues to focus on building sales in Australia, although that has been “modest” so far and the main attention is in Sydney, where the market is beginning to accept the Moa brand.

Neither Waugh nor chief executive Geoff Ross gave guidance for earnings in the current year.


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