Late plunge adds to Wellard’s woes

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Sean SmithThe West Australian
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Wellard's Mauro Balzarina pictured at the ASX.
Camera IconWellard's Mauro Balzarina pictured at the ASX. Credit: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian.

A late share price plunge by Wellard yesterday has likely drawn more scrutiny from the Australian Securities Exchange.

Shares in the live exporter, hammered since a surprise profit downgrade on Monday, seemed to have stabilised yesterday, going into the afternoon trading session little changed from their overnight close of 83¢. However, a sharp reversal saw the stock lose 14 per cent to 70¢ in just 90 minutes before limping to a close of 72.5¢ in busy trading.

Wellard has now lost a third of its value, or $142 million, since Monday’s downgrade and 48 per cent since listing in December.

Responding to an ASX query about the downgrade and its half-year results late on Wednesday, Wellard said it had abided by its continuous disclosure obligations.

Management said an independent review of its half-year accounts was received last Thursday and discussed at a board meeting which finished late the next day. The results were announced early Monday morning, triggering a 9 per cent fall in its share price.

Having tipped a full-year net profit of $46.4 million in its prospectus, Wellard now expects $42.5 million because of the lower Australian dollar, engine failures on two livestock carriers and the delayed commissioning of a third vessel in China.

The company last night declined to discuss yesterday’s fall or whether the group had been queried again.

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