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ASX-listed Inventis sells unprofitable kiwi furniture unit to Hamilton-based firm

Inventis, the unprofitable furniture and technology company, has sold its New Zealand unit to a Hamilton-based building firm for an undisclosed sum.

Crater Lake Developments bought Gregory Commercial Furniture (NZ), via a new business entity called Damba Gregory Commercial Furniture, as well as a license to the intellectual property of the Australian furniture brand, the ASX-listed company said in a statement. Last November, Inventis restructured the unprofitable kiwi operations after talks to sell the business to local management and another external buyer fell through. Philip Downie, who joined the New Zealand unit as chief executive during the restructure, will remain with the new business.

Inventis reported a loss of A$1.82 million in the year ended June 30, from a profit of A$2.95 million a year earlier, its annual report shows. Sales fell 18 percent to A$16.8 million while its furniture division, which includes the kiwi operations, reported an earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation loss of A$1.2 million, widening from an Ebitda-loss of A$600,000 a year earlier. Sales in New Zealand, which make up 16 percent of total revenue, fell 3.3 percent to A$2.8 million, while Australian sales fell 21 percent to A$14 million in the year.

At Inventis's annual meeting in November, executive chairman Tony Noun reiterated to shareholders the company's annual loss, excluding one-off costs was "attributable entirely to the poor performance of our New Zealand subsidiary," according to speech notes lodged with the ASX. The company reduced New Zealand staff and moved its operations to reduce occupancy costs, and had expected these changes to halve its break-even point as at June 30 this year, and lead to profit growth.

Shares of Inventis last traded at 1.1 Australian cents on the ASX.