One of the best performing shares on the New Zealand market this year was one of its least-known, as QEX Logistics clocked a 360 per cent rise in share price on its way to a listing on the NZX main board by Christmas.
The Auckland-based company, which delivers New Zealand and Australian products to individual consumers in China, held its first annual meeting this week after listing on the NZX's NXT board for SMEs in February. Its share price at listing was 25c: this week it is $1.15.
Ranked the 13th fastest growing company by Deloitte Fast 50 last year from 46th placing in 2016, QEX also provided an interim update to the market that upgraded its sales revenue target for the full 2019 year from $41 million to $60m, an increase of 46 per cent.
Its sales turnover target at time of listing seven months ago was $28m.
Revenue for the year ended March 31 was $31.5m, up 42 per cent on the previous year. Net profit was $1.18m.
QEX today has 240 shareholders. A $2.5m placement last month was heavily over-subscribed. Founder and chief executive Ronnie Xue is still the major shareholder with 76 per cent of the stock.
Chairman Conor English said shareholders included high net worth investors, but institutional investors were starting to take an interest.
"The share register's looking pretty good. We're working with the NZX on gravitating to the main board and hopefully that will assist in getting more mum and dad investors."
English hoped that listing would be before Christmas.
CM Partners principal Tim Preston said QEX's share price was one of the best performers on the market "if not the best".
"QEX is a really good example of what small companies can achieve and the benefits of listing. It's grown strongly and had good investor support. Its profile has increased and it has really enhanced their credibility with manufacturers and suppliers."
Founded by Xue as a family-owned company eight years ago, QEX's main business today is sending New Zealand milk powder and infant formula to Chinese customers. It sources product from Danone and Fonterra.
Xue said more than doubling its Auckland warehouse space meant QEX had been able this year to store more inventory and thereby navigate supply shortages to meet customer orders, which had helped drive revenue growth.
The company had applied to set up a bonded warehouse in China, hopefully next month, he said.
Having such a facility would mean QEX did not have to pay tax to China until the product was sold online, though product was still treated by regulators as being imported. It would improve efficiency and generate more revenue, he said.
Other plans included expanding into Australia and adding health supplements such as honey and vitamins to its product offering. Planning was also under way for cool chain exporting.
"We have legitimate plans on the table for Australia. We want to as soon as possible but so many new things are happening in New Zealand and we are concentrating on our New Zealand goals and opportunities."