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Wellington Drive 3Q sales slide 23 percent, sees tough trading ahead

Friday 2nd November 2012

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Wellington Drive Technologies, the unprofitable maker of efficient electric motors, posted a 23 percent slump in third-quarter sales after switching its focus this year to commercial refrigeration markets. It doesn't see much good news on the horizon.

Sales fell to $6.6 million in the three months ended Sept. 30 from $8.8 million in the same period a year earlier, the Auckland-based company said in a statement. The company narrowed its loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of $1.2 million in the nine months ended Sept. 30, from $7.2 million in the same period in 2011. It had previously forecast a second-half ebitda loss of $2.5 million.

"As the company enters the fourth quarter of 2012, customers are providing limited demand visibility for Q4 and for 2013," the company said. "We are planning for a continuing of difficult economic conditions, particularly in Europe and are being prudent in our spending and inventory controls."

In May, Wellington Drive told shareholders at its annual meeting it was seeking to achieve profitability next financial year, for the first time since listing in 2001.

"Despite the economic backdrop we have recently succeeded in several new customer wins in Europe and the Americas and expect these wins to be a key growth driver in 2013 and beyond," it said.

Wellington Drive cut its third quarter operating costs to $2.2 million from $3 million a year earlier, and expects expenses to track lower over time as it keeps a tight rein on cost control.

The company is seeking a strategic partner to invest in the business and has embarked on "initial conversations" with several parties, it said.

Wellington Drive has repeatedly gone to shareholders for funding over its decade on the bourse, and last month raised $2 million after costs in a placement with SuperLife Investments.

The shares were unchanged at 19.5 cents today, and have shed 7.1 percent this year.

BusinessDesk.co.nz

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