Jamie Gray

Jamie Gray is a business reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ wire agency

Crunch time for Comvita shareholders

Beauty and health products are a part of the honey business. Photo / Supplied
Beauty and health products are a part of the honey business. Photo / Supplied

Shareholders in Te Puke-based Comvita New Zealand will know today whether their loyalty was well-placed when the manuka honey company reports its result for the year to March.

The company successfully fought off a $2.50 a share takeover bid last October from Singapore-based Cerebos Pacific.

At the time, a valuation conducted by consultants Grant Samuel put Comvita's value at $3.40 to $4 a share, which was well in excess of what Cerebos was prepared to pay.

Cerebos' argument was that Grant Samuel's valuation had assumed a consistent earnings record, which is something Comvita had struggled to achieve over the years.

Just before Cerebos made its move, Comvita forecast a normalised net profit of $7.3 million to $8.2 million and sales of $91 million to $95 million for the year.

The company said in January that its earnings guidance was on track.

Comvita's biggest shareholder, co-founder Alan Bougen, has 10.2 per cent.

Bougen's holding, together with the holdings of staff, other interests closely associated with the company and the Butt family represent a voting bloc of around 30 per cent.

The company has a large shareholder base in the Bay of Plenty.

Comvita, which is involved in natural health and beauty products - much of it derived from manuka honey - last month announced a new management structure to position the company for what it said would be its next phase of development.

Comvita shares yesterday closed down 9c at $2.90.

- APNZ

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