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Charlie’s founders Lepionka, Ellis, Neal sell down holdings

Charlie’s founders Lepionka, Ellis, Neal sell down their holdings

Nov. 29 (BusinessDesk) – Founders of Charlie’s Group Ltd. have taken advantage of a surge in the juicemaker’s shares to sell down their holdings, saying they’re not as young or carefree as they used to be. The shares fell to the sale price today.

Stefan Lepionka, Marc Ellis and Simon Neal sold a combined 15.31 million shares at 18 cents apiece to institutional and private investors, the company said in a statement today.

The stock fell 4.3% to 18 cents today and have soared almost 130% this year, helped by the announcement last month that its drinks would be stocked by Australian supermarket chain Coles. The sale amounts to a 5.2% reduction in the combined shareholding of the three founders, the company said. Together with major shareholder Collins Asset Management they own 51.6% of Charlie’s.

Chief executive Lepionka, who started in the business squeezing oranges in Wellington before selling his first company, said it hadn’t been an easy decision to sell shares.

“However our personal financial commitments have changed significantly over the last eleven years since we started the business,” he said in the statement. “The three of us started this business in our late twenties, with few financial and personal responsibilities. Between the three of us we will soon have eight children to provide for.”

Chairman Ted van Arkel told shareholders at their annual meeting this month that gross sales in the six months ending Dec. 31 are expected to rise 24% to $21 million, while EBITDA would climb14% to $2 million.

“Australian sales are expected to grow by around 136% for the same period as last year which will raise the mix of Australian gross sales from 22% to 38% for this period,” he said. “Dependent on the full year results and cash flow requirements for future growth, the Board will consider declaring a maiden dividend in 2011.”

(BusinessDesk)

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