Mowbray boss laments lack of growth

HAMISH M CNICOL
Last updated 05:00 14/08/2014

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Mowbray Collectables' outgoing chief executive John Mowbray has apologised to shareholders for not growing the company significantly in the 14 years since it listed on the NZX.

But Mowbray also told the annual meeting in Wellington yesterday that he was excited about its prospects, after it completed the acquisition of Auckland-based Peter Webb Galleries.

Mowbray, who has been dealing stamps for 50 years, will continue to head the stamp and coin divisions in Otaki, and become an executive director.

"I am conscious that we have not achieved what I set out to do, to grow a significant-sized company on the NZX.

"Regrettably, two investments in Australia set us back significantly but they are behind us today and I know we have a strong platform for developing the future envisaged by our board."

A new chief executive would need to be based in Auckland, where the company saw the most potential.

In May the Otaki-based listed company announced a $112,000 loss for the year ended March 31, 2014.

Including losses on the movement of foreign currency reserves, Mowbray's total deficit was $231,795. It posted a $106,000 profit the previous year.

Mowbray said the latest result was "most disappointing", and reflected the significant costs incurred in purchasing the remaining 51 per cent of Webb's, priced at least at $1.3 million.

As a result of this and a divestment in Sotheby's Australia, as well as the first capital-raising by the company since 2010, Mowbray said it had incurred one-off costs that had affected the financial results.

The acquisition cost associated with Peter Webb Galleries was about $80,000, while Sotheby's was revalued down by about $52,000.

But the year had been "both a transformative and challenging period", he said.

"This transaction is of huge strategic importance to us and we are excited about the prospects ahead, despite competitive market conditions."

The company said its core businesses had all been profitable.

Stamps and coins sales had reflected a challenging market but were up 10 per cent to $3.33m. The gross margin earned off each sale suffered, however. International sales had been "robust".

Mowbray Collectables also forecast the acquisition of Peter Webb Galleries would double the revenue of the group, which last year totalled $4.13m.

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- The Dominion Post

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