Former Energy Mad director pockets profit

TIM HUNTER AND TAMLYN STEWART
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2013

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Former Australian politician John Hewson has pocketed about $250,000 from selling shares he was given in NZX-listed Energy Mad, a stock exchange disclosure revealed today.

The sales took his holding from 5.3 per cent when the Christchurch-based energy efficient lightbulb maker listed in 2011 to 3.14 per cent at the date of his last trade on May 14.

The Securities Markets Act requires owners of more than 5 per cent of a company to disclose immediately when their stake falls below 5 per cent. The maximum penalty for non-disclosure is a fine of $30,000.

The Financial Markets Authority was not immediately able to say whether it was looking at Hewson's disclosure record.

Hewson, a former Energy Mad director, began selling in November 2011, a month after the company listed on the NZX.

BusinessDay estimates Hewson's stake fell below 5 per cent in mid-2012, based on a detailed list of trading included in the latest disclosure.

Hewson was a director of Energy Mad from July 2006 to February 2008.

He was granted 2 million shares in the company as consideration for helping it raise money before listing.

Energy Mad co-founder Chris Mardon told BusinessDay this year that Hewson's Australian contacts opened doors, particularly at power company AGL, where his former wife was a director.

"We basically gave [the two Australian directors] incentive targets and said if they could raise a certain amount of capital at a certain price we would issue them with shares," Mardon said.

Hewson was leader of the Australian Liberal Party from 1990 to 1994 and is a former director of Macquarie Bank.

He is chairman of the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, which describes itself as "an organisation whose objective is to protect members' retirement savings from the risks posed by climate change by improving the level of disclosure and industry best practice".

Energy Mad today said it had delivered a first-quarter unaudited profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) that was ahead of its budget.

Its shares were up 4 cents at 34c, valuing the company at $14.6 million.

Energy Mad has announced a better-than-expected result for the first quarter of the 2014 financial year.

The company said its ebitda profit - for which it provided no figures - was an improvement on the same period a year ago and a "turnaround" for the company, following a full year loss of $2.5 million for 2013.

Mardon said the company had achieved its first quarter profit without the accreditation of its 12V bulbs for the Victorian and New South Wales energy efficient schemes or the next order of bulbs from United States drugstore chain Walgreens.

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Mardon said the primary drivers of the first quarter result were the improved performance of its direct installation business and the implementation of the cost reduction steps which were initiated in the final quarter of FY13, and a positive foreign exchange gain.

The company would give more detailed guidance on its 2014 performance later in the year.

- The Press

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