The shares of boutique brewer, Moa Group, slumped by over 20% today, on news that the company expects to miss its revenue forecast by 30%. The market had valued the business on the basis of future growth projections. However when targets are missed, consequences follow—as they did today. While the announcement would have been disappointing for the shareholders, the CEO's reaction was simply stunning: "We were misled".
Gosh, what an admission! Geoff Ross, CEO, has had a great run over the last few years, with the success of 42 Below, and more recently, Trilogy. Why did this doyen of the business and entrepreneurial community not see the 30% sales slump—just four months into the fiscal year—coming? Is "we were misled" an acceptable defence, or should the CEO and Board have seen the situation coming (through effective reporting and monitoring processes) and taken positive action earlier? "We were misled" sounds passive and dismissive. The latter option is more acceptable to shareholders.
Without wishing to be impetuous, the Moa Group board needs to take stock. The company strategy and goals need to be reviewed to ensure they continue to be realistic given market conditions; reporting and monitoring processes need to be refined; and, the board needs to become more actively engaged in the oversight of the business. Then, and probably only then, will the now-visible discrepancy (between forecast and actual performance) be addressed and shareholder confidence restored.
Notwithstanding this critique, I wish Moa Group well for the future. It's products are great!
Thoughts on corporate governance, strategy and the craft of board work; our place in the world; and, other things that catch my attention.