Comvita's share price fell sharply today after investors re-focused their attention on the manuka honey maker's earnings prospects after talks with a potential buyer fell through.
The company's share price gained last month on the back of a possible transaction but now that it's off the table, concerns about market conditions and growth have taken centre stage, said Harbour Asset Management portfolio manager and research analyst Shane Solly.
"After two tough harvest periods, can the company keep up the rate of growth that investors have become used to?" Solly said.
Comvita, one of the local market's glamour stocks of 2015 and 2016, closed at $6.31 down 46c or 6.8 per cent from Friday's close, having earlier hit a low for the day of $6.10.
The company announced that it was in talks with a third party in April. At the same time, it said after-tax operating earnings for the year ending June 30 were expected to be $8 million-to-$11m, down from an earlier forecast for earnings of more than $17.1m, due to bad weather.
In today's statement Comvita said it was, from time to the time, the focus of parties wishing to buy a controlling stake.
The most recent approach could have been very positive for the company and "NZ Inc" in driving the Comvita brand forward into new markets and new sales channels, it said.
"However, in negotiations we could not bridge the considerable distance between us on price and therefore, Comvita directors unanimously agreed to withdraw from the process," Comvita said.
"While evaluation of approaches to invest into or acquire a controlling stake in Comvita is an important consideration of the board, it has the effect of diversion of executive and board time from the day to day operation of the business," the company said.
Comvita has been on a rollercoaster ride in recent years, driven by enthusiastic take-up of manuka honey products in Australia and Asian markets.