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Moa boosts first quarter sales, expects higher margins

Moa boosts first quarter sales, expects higher margins to drive profits

By Tina Morrison

July 22 (BusinessDesk) - Moa Group, the unprofitable boutique beer maker, increased first quarter sales volumes 95 percent after moving to a more direct distribution structure in New Zealand, its largest market.

Beers sales volumes rose to 264,000 litres in the three months ended June 30, from 135,000 litres in the year earlier period, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. Moa didn't detail its first quarter sales value or profitability.

The brewer, which went public in 2012, missed its earnings targets last year and called on the financial support of its major shareholders following lower-than-expected sales that it blamed on problems with its previous distributor. Moa said it is has doubled its market share in supermarkets to 7.2 percent since changing its sales and distribution structure in October, and is now the fourth-biggest craft beer behind rival brands Monteiths, Macs and Boundary Road, which are owned by DB Breweries, Lion and Independent Liquor respectively.

The company said it expects to boost its gross margin in the current financial year, without providing a target. Last financial year the gross margin rose to 19 percent in the second half from 14 percent in the first half, it said.

"We are confident that by year end the margin the business delivers will be substantially greater," the company said. "This will considerably improve the timeframe to achieve profitability."

Moa expects to update shareholders on its capital management plans at its annual meeting on Thursday.

At the end of its financial year on March 31, the company had $4.1 million of cash reserves, down from $11.5 million a year earlier and said it was looking at a range of financing alternatives to ensure it had adequate capital resources to support its growth plans.

Pioneer Capital, which owns 24 percent of the company, and The Business Bakery, on 23 percent, provided Moa with a letter of commitment to provide financial support enabling the group to continue to operate for at least a year, according to its annual accounts.

Shares in Moa last traded at 42 cents, and have shed 66 percent the past year, the second-worst performer on the NZX All Index of 115 stocks.


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