More bad news for National 1 shareholders

OFFICE supplies company National 1 has delivered more bad news to shareholders, reporting a $13.2 million loss for the six months to December 2003.

This followed a $33.8 million loss in the 2003 financial year. In both periods, a weak operating result was compounded by one-off write-downs and other adjustments.

The latest loss comes only a few weeks after founding managing director Warren Arbuckle was ousted.

He was replaced by former Ernst & Young partner Dan Fogarty, the son-in-law of company chairman Barry Patterson.

Mr Patterson propped up the company with a $10 million capital injection last June, when its restructuring pain was supposedly a thing of the past.

Revenue in the latest half-year period was $66.2 million, down 19 per cent. One-off restructuring costs totalled $5.7 million, and included the write-off of inventories and rebates.

In addition, the company provided $0.7 million for doubtful debts and $0.5 million for stock obsolescence.

The company said it had reduced annualised operating costs by $7 million and that this would be reflected in the second-half results.

“The new management team is very focused on profitable growth and managing its cost structure appropriately,” the company said.

“The company has experienced sales growth and gross margin improvement from November to date, and costs have continued to decline.”


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