The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Clues to Moa surge in Oz note

Headscratching over shares leap as director buys $100k of stock.
Moa Group shares have soared in value since the end of last month. Picture / Dean Purcell
Moa Group shares have soared in value since the end of last month. Picture / Dean Purcell

Market watchers have been left scratching their heads after a major surge in Moa Group shares.

The stock, a serial underperformer, has gained 63 per cent since June 20 to close at 88c last night, although this is still well below its $1.25 initial public offering price.

"Goodness only knows what's driving that, but it's gone straight up since the end of last month," Rickey Ward, New Zealand equity manager at JBWere, told BusinessDesk last week.

There has been only one announcement flagged as price sensitive from the company, which holds its annual meeting in Auckland today, since June 20.

That was a "please explain" notice from NZX over its rallying share price. In response, the firm said it was in compliance with its continuous disclosure requirements.

A bullish July 12 note from Fat Prophets, however, may provide a few clues to the recent run-up in Moa shares.

The Sydney-based research provider and wealth manager slapped a "high-risk buy" recommendation on the stock, while also flagging the potential for the company to become a takeover target.

Fat Prophets noted that Moa's cashflow position had improved, saying the risk of the company having to raise additional capital had reduced and quality management and brand momentum meant "profitability is only around the corner".

"We believe that reaching profitability could provide a positive catalyst for the share price in the medium-term," the note said. "Continued growth could also put Moa on the radar of a beverage conglomerate looking to make an acquisition."

The company's annual result, reported in April, showed signs of improvement with the company narrowing its loss to $2.9 million from $5.6m a year earlier, while boosting volumes and cutting operating costs.

Skin in the game

There can be few better signs about a company's outlook than a board member snapping up big parcels of shares.

Moa Group executive director David Poole has been doing a bit of shopping, purchasing more than $100,000 worth of Moa stock in recent weeks, which could also go some way towards explaining the share rally.

In a similar move, Pushpay Holdings revealed on Monday that independent director Graham Shaw had purchased 800,000 shares in the mobile payments developer for $1.8m.

The market appears to have liked that development, too.

Shares in the Seattle-based, NZX-listed company - which have more than doubled over the past year - have gained 11 per cent this week to close at $2.56 last night.

It's a reasonable reaction, given that Shaw, with his seat at the board table, is better positioned than most to get a clear view on where the company is heading.

Pushpay, whose software is mostly used by churches for collecting donations, announced this month that it had boosted annualised committed monthly revenue (ACMR) to US$27.3m ($38.38m) in the quarter to June 30, a more than 40 per cent lift on the previous quarter.

The firm, which is moving into bill payments for utilities, also reiterated that it was on track to reach its ACMR target of $100m by the end of February 2018.

Temporary reprieve

Early-stage companies eyeing the ASX have been granted a reprieve on soon-to-be introduced tougher listing rules.

As previously reported by Stock Takes, a consultation document released in May proposed changes including that companies listing on the Australian stock exchange be required to have a minimum market capitalisation of A$20m ($21.1m) - up from A$10m currently - or net tangible assets of A$5m, A$2m more than is presently required.

It's being read as a move to block listings of early-stage companies on the ASX, which has been seeing an increasing interest from New Zealand technology companies.

However, the stock exchange operator said on Tuesday that the changes, previously expected to come into force on September 1, had been deferred to December 19 after it received a large amount of feedback on the move.

- NZ Herald

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