Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Moa shares drop on $6m loss news

Moa Beers Chief Executive Geoff Ross pours a beer. Photo / Greg Bowker
Moa Beers Chief Executive Geoff Ross pours a beer. Photo / Greg Bowker

Moa boss Geoff Ross says the up to $6 million full-year loss forecast by the craft beer brewer reflects the "triple hit" the company received from a sales shortfall in New Zealand and its subsequent move to a new distribution model in this country.

"You get the lack of volume that triggered the distribution change in the first place, the [sales] lull that you undergo before your new distribution model kicks in and the buy-back of any stock that the [former] distributor has had," Ross said.

"We could have chosen not to make a change ... but we thought that, overall, it was better to bite the bullet and move to the model we now have."

Auckland-based Moa, which brews its beer in Blenheim and listed on the NZX last November, yesterday confirmed its annual sales volumes for the 12 months to the end of March 2014 would be 136,000 cases, 30 per cent less than the 195,000-case target in its initial public offer prospectus.

The drop was largely due to sales shortfall in this country, which the company has blamed on its former distributor.

Moa is forecasting a full-year loss of $5 million to $6 million, which would be at least double the $2.5 million loss predicted in the prospectus and well ahead of a $4.5 million loss forecast by Forsyth Barr last month.

Shares, which sold in the IPO at $1.25 apiece, closed down 5c at 75c last night.

Moa said it had experienced "encouraging" sales volumes in New Zealand in October, the first month its new, internal distribution model had been in place.

The firm said it had not placed enough focus on its higher-margin Estate and Reserve beer ranges.

"Now that the company has control of its sales efforts, a renewed focus and energy will be applied not only to Moa Original but also to the Estate and Reserve ranges," Moa said.

The company said Australia offered a "greater opportunity than previously foreseen" and an increased focus on that market would be developed over six to 12 months.

Moa has also moved to an internal distribution system across the Tasman where it has two sales staff based in Sydney, one of whom is former Black Cap Daryl Tuffey.

Brian Gaynor, executive director of Milford Asset Management, which holds Moa shares, said it was disappointing the brewer had not achieved the targets it set at the IPO.

"We're happy they've changed direction ... but the jury's out on whether this course will work or not."

Moa has said the distribution change will adversely affect its first-half result, which will be reported on Tuesday, November 19.

- NZ Herald

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