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Pushpay in trading halt as co-founder Eliot Crowther to sell out; ditches US listing plan

Monday 18th June 2018

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Pushpay Holdings, the mobile payments app developer valued at $1.2 billion by market capitalisation, is in a trading halt as it prepares a bookbuild to let executive director Eliot Crowther exit the firm he co-founded, and has dropped plans to list in the US this year.

The 24.8 million shares will be sold in a fully underwritten bookbuild ahead of Crowther's resignation, first as a director on June 21 then as an employee on July 31, Pushpay said in a statement. The stock last traded at $4.37 on the NZX, down 1.1 percent on the day, and has soared 168 percent over the past 12 months. Crowther is leaving for personal reasons to focus on his family.

"The board and management of Pushpay would like to thank Eliot for his invaluable contribution to Pushpay, including his service as a co-founder, executive director and sales executive," chief executive Chris Heaslip said. "Pushpay wishes Eliot the best for his future endeavours. The board is actively searching for an additional US-based director and is considering suitably qualified candidates of diverse backgrounds and experience."

The bookbuild will be held today and tomorrow, and the trading halt is expected to be lifted before the market opens on Wednesday. 

The Auckland-domiciled, US-headquartered company narrowed its loss to $23.3 million in the year ended March 31, from $25.3 million a year earlier, while revenue rose to $70.2 million from $34.3 million, in line with its forecast.

The company is focusing on medium and large churches in North America, which it sees as an opportunity to generate US$1 billion of annual revenue. When announcing its results last month, chief executive Chris Heaslip said the company expects the number of deals it's closing and deal size to accelerate over the coming year.

Pushpay had previously planned to complete a US listing by the end of calendar 2018, but today said it's "largely achieved" the main goals of doing so with Crowther's exit improving liquidity without the cost of a market listing, and the software developer has put that plan on ice for now. 

"The board will reassess the need for a US market listing periodically," it said. "Pushpay has seen a substantial increase in liquidity and a wider range of institutional investors join its share register, including US-based institutions."

Pushpay still expects to break even on a cashflow basis before the end of the year, and while it doesn't need extra capital right now, "it may consider acquisitions in the future which would serve to further strengthen its existing solutions," it said.


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