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Just Water posts 17% decline in annual profit

Just Water posts 17% decline in annual profit

By Suze Metherell

Sept. 1 (BusinessDesk) - Just Water International, the water cooler and supplies business 79 percent owned by founder Tony Falkenstein, reported a 17 percent drop in annual profit, as restructuring costs weighed on the bottom line.

Profit fell to $1.1 million in the year ended June 30, from $1.3 million a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said. That reflected $191,000 in restructuring costs this year and a $262,000 gain in foreign exchange in the 2014 year. Sales fell 5 percent to $16.5 million, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation fell 17 percent to $4 million. It didn't declare a dividend.

In April, Just Water got the green light for the sale of its Australian business, Waterlogic Australia, for A$11 million, a transaction that left the company debt-free.

The company said today it hadn't planned to sell the business, but couldn't ignore the good offer, particularly given the prospects of the Australian economy and the focus of management on New Zealand businesses.

Falkenstein's investment vehicle Harvard Group made a full takeover bid for Just Water last October at 15 cents a share, trumping an indicative offer of 14.6 cents from an unidentified overseas buyer. He fell short of the target to take the company private, acquiring about 8 percent of the shares he didn't already own.

The company reiterated plans to de-list from the New Zealand Alternative Index, with a resolution to be tabled at its annual meeting, timing of which has yet to be announced. Just Water would move to the unlicensed Unlisted market or move the share register to Computershare and see the stock traded on ShareMart.

If the proposal goes ahead, majority owner Harvard would look to buy up to 4.99 percent of the stock at 17 cents per share, representing a 12 percent increase onlast October's offer price. That's the maximum amount Harvard can acquire before making a full takeover offer for the company.

The shares were unchanged at 14 cents.


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