Laybuy's minority shareholders will be closely watching what its big owners do next week, with the voluntary escrow on 96,998,888 shares - about 55.6 per cent of the shares on issue - due to come off on Tuesday after it releases its full-year financial results.
The company's Kiwi founders, Gary and Robyn Rohloff, collectively own 51,531,420 of those shares coming off escrow.
Australian private equity investor Pioneer owns another 44,450,675 shares. Other senior management held 1,016,793 at the company's sharemarket float on the ASX but have been able to sell since September last year.
The company has strong growth aspirations, targeting the UK and US markets. But like other buy now, pay later stocks, its share price has been hammered this year.
Laybuy had an initial public offer price of A$1.41 when it listed in September 2020 and its shares soared as shoppers turned to online payments under pandemic lockdown conditions.
But they were trading around A7.5 cents per share on the ASX on Thursday. At that value the Rohloffs' stake would be worth just A$3.86 million.
That's not much compared to the A$72.66m their stake was worth when the company listed.
A Laybuy spokesman confirmed the Rohloffs would not be selling their shares but could not comment on what Pioneer would do.
Buy now, pay later companies are facing increasing pressure, especially with talk of the need to regulate the sector.
This week Swedish buy now, pay later company Klarna announced it was cutting 10 per cent of its workforce.
The Laybuy spokesman said it had no plans to cut staff as its Australian and New Zealand businesses were already profitable.
In March the company downgraded its revenue growth forecasts to between 43 per cent and 48 per cent for the 2022 full year. Its earlier guidance was 60 to 70 per cent growth.
In FY2021, Laybuy reported revenue of $32.6m, up from $13.7m the previous financial year. But losses widened from $16.1m in FY20 to $41.3m in FY21.
Higher costs drive bigger loss for Pacific Edge
Shares in Pacific Edge slumped after the company announced a bigger loss, driven by an increase in operating expenses.
The bladder cancer diagnostics company made a net loss of $19.8m for the year to March 31, up from $14.2m the year before.
Its revenue rose 33 per cent to $13.9m but operating expenses were up from $24.7m to $33.7m.
Delivering his first result since becoming chief executive, Dr Peter Meintjes said the higher net loss was a result of accelerated investment to drive the adoption of its tests.
That had seen total laboratory throughput of its Cxbladder test rise by 46 per cent to 23,086 and commercial test volumes rise 48 per cent to 19,196.
Despite that, Meintjes said the last six months had been challenging.
"Restrictions in the healthcare sector have been more severe and longer lasting than those imposed on the community at large, and this has limited engagement with physicians ordering the tests and the organisations paying for them.
"It has also prevented patients from engaging with their clinicians."
But he said with Covid restrictions easing, the virus becoming endemic and sales and marketing recruits beginning to hit their stride, the company was seeing volumes begin to accelerate.
"Average weekly test throughput in the US from the start of April to last week were 455 tests per week, a figure 25 per cent higher than the average of the last year.
"These objective indicators, and the subjective positive feedback from those regularly using Cxbladder, demonstrate that clinicians are gaining increasing confidence in the use of Cxbladder earlier in the patient care pathway."
Meintjes also announced three new initiatives; continued research and development on new patents for cancer and non-cancer tests; acceleration of clinical evidence-gathering for its Cxbladder test; and new hires to boost both its direct and virtual sales teams.
The company's shares fell 6c to close on 77c.
Tower hit by big claims
A number of large claim events has dragged down the profits of insurer Tower.
The company made an after-tax profit of $2.98m for the six months to March 31, down from $11.1m in the same period a year earlier.
Excluding large events, its underlying profit was $18.2m, up from $17.1m.
Tower chief executive Blair Turnbull said large event costs over the half-year were substantial, adding up to $17.9m compared to $9.3m the year before.
This included $7.6m from the eruption of Tonga's volcano and subsequent tsunami, $3.6m from Cyclone Dovi which hit New Zealand in February, and $6.7m from rainstorms which hit the North Island in March.
Tower has reinsurance cover but this only kicks in once costs rise to over $20m in any given year. It is covered up to $40m.
"Tower is acutely aware of the ways climate change is increasingly affecting our communities," said the company.
"We are responding. By expanding our risk-based pricing policies and focusing on a high-quality reinsurance programme, we ensure Tower remains in the strongest possible position to continue protecting both our customers' and shareholders' interests."
In November last year Tower brought in risk-based pricing for floods. So far it had moved 70,000 customers to the new pricing model, Turnbull said.
Tower's gross written premiums rose from $194.6m to $216.1m while its net earned premiums rose from $167.8m to $173.7m.
The insurer increased its customers by 6 per cent to 312,000 and saw its management expense ratio fall from 37.1 per cent to 35.8 per cent.
Turnbull said Tower's operational business performance had improved over the half-year through growth, improved efficiencies and effective management of inflationary pressures.
"By building deeper, more engaging relationships with customers Tower is experiencing consistent growth in both premium and customer numbers year-on-year."
Tower maintained its full-year guidance of between $21m and $25m underlying net profit.
It declared a half-year dividend of 2.5 cents per share.
Aroa loss narrows
ASX-listed Aroa Biosurgery said its product revenue grew by 81 per cent to $39.2m in the March year while its loss narrowed.
Aroa's guidance for 2023 is for further product revenue growth of 30-40 per cent, which would take revenue to $51m-$55m.
The company, which uses the stomach lining from sheep to create a "bio-scaffold" that helps soft-tissue repair in humans for everything from bad cuts to hernias and breast reconstruction, said its product gross margin of 76 of per cent represented an 8 per cent increase on 2021.
The result was delivered despite Covid-19 continuing to affect hospitals and procedure volumes in the United States.
The company's normalised Ebitda loss for 2022 was $1.5m, compared to a loss of $3.3m in 2021.
Its normalised loss before tax was $5.2m, down from $7.5m.
Aroa said it had a strong cash balance of $56.1m and had no debt.
Product gross margins were expected to improve to 77 per cent due to increased sales of higher-margin "Myriad" products and improving manufacturing efficiencies.
Aroa said it was continuing to invest in its US salesforce and product development to drive growth in 2023.
As a result, it is forecasting an Ebitda loss for that year.
Aroa - which has a manufacturing facility at Māngere, successfully raised A$47m through a share placement last year.
The company's shares last traded on the ASX at A84c.
Brokers' take on FPH
Fisher & Paykel Healthcare's 28 per cent decline in annual net profit was largely expected, with second-half revenue trends highlighting a material decline while operating costs continued to grow, said brokers Forsyth Barr.
In its result, F&P said over the past two years the company had supplied $880m of hospital hardware, the equivalent of about 10 years' hardware sales before Covid-19, essentially giving the company a new, higher base.
But looking ahead, the company gave few clues in terms of earnings guidance.
"Full year 2023 guidance was unsurprisingly opaque, reflecting the ongoing lack of visibility on the direction of revenue; particularly around the utilisation of its materially increased installed base," Forsyth Barr said.
"We continue to view FPH as well-positioned for long-term growth with double-digit earnings growth forecast from 2023.
"The key question around what the new earnings base may represent was made no clearer."
It was a similar message from Jarden.
"Looking forward, FPH provided no initial earnings guidance for 2023 but it did announce new products, an expanded TAM (total addressable market ) and higher confidence in achieving its long-run growth opportunity, specifically with Covid accelerating hardware placement and lifting awareness of high flow therapy," Jarden said.