26 Oct 2012

Hellaby Holdings seeks new acquisitions

8:45 pm on 26 October 2012

Hellaby Holdings is considering joint ventures as it actively seeks new acquisitions to boost sluggish earnings in the first quarter.

The company owns the Number One Shoes and Hannahs shoe retailers, as well as packaging, automotive and equipment businesses.

It told shareholders at its annual meeting in Auckland on Thursday that the September quarter was tougher than expected and earnings would be flat until it makes an acquisition.

It says it will not be able to repeat the 66% profit growth of the last three years without acquisitions.

Chief executive John Williamson says group profits are below target and behind last year due to an anaemic economy.

He says the first two quarters of this year were reasonably strong, but the third quarter tightened.

After reviewing more than 20 potential acquisitions in the last year, he says he is confident the company will announce one or more deals in coming months, which could include a co-investment.

He says it could be a good entry point to a new sector where the company was not buying as an existing trade player.

"We would look to co-investors who have expertise that we like and similar investment aspirations, and at times it may enable us to buy a slightly bigger business with a smaller shareholding."

Shares closed down 6c at $3.20 on Thursday.