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42 Below founders launch IPO in fragrance business

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Wellington, March 27 NZPA - The founders of New Zealand vodka company 42 Below are providing NZX with its first listing of 2010 with the float of home fragrance business Ecoya.

Ecoya has registered a prospectus for the sale of 10 million shares at $1.00 each to the public in New Zealand and Australia with the option to accept oversubscriptions of 3 million shares.

Investors will receive one warrant for every two shares allotted. Each warrant entitles the holder to one ordinary share at $1 per share. Half the warrants are exercisable up until December 15, 2011 and the other half up until June 15, 2013. The ordinary shares and warrants will be quoted on the NZSX market.

Ecoya has written to all former 42 Below shareholders in New Zealand inviting them to pre-register to receive the prospectus and they can participate in the public pool.

"We are delighted to see a company so obviously focused on growth to be the first initial public offer of 2010, and very pleased that the NZX Market can be a source of funding for companies like 42 Below, Xero, and now Ecoya, that have strong growth agendas and global ambition," said NZX chief executive Mark Weldon.

NZX has announced two delistings this week -- Eastern Hi Fi and Strategic Finance, both of which are in receivership.

Former 42 Below executives Geoff Ross, Grant Baker and Stephen Sinclair, and former 42 Below Australia head Craig Schweighoffer, are behind Ecoya.

Ecoya was founded in Australia and Mr Schweighoffer invested in the business in 2006. The 42 Below founders' new company Business Bakery LP took a shareholding in February 2008 and Mr Schweighoffer became chief executive.

Ecoya is being advised by investment bankers Cameron Partners. First NZ Capital Ltd and Craigs Investment Partners Ltd are the co-managers of the public share offer.

There will be a public pool of 1.5 million shares and a pool of 2.5 million shares for the independent directors and private investors known to the directors and their associates. The independent directors have agreed to apply, in cash, for $425,000 of shares.

A pool of 6 million shares is available for allocation to NZX firms and selected institutional investors.

The Business Bakery is underwriting $2m of the pool of shares allocated to private investors known to the directors and their associates.

The offer opens on March 29 and closes on April 26.

The money raised will be used to expand in international markets, recruit staff, invest in infrastructure, provide working capital funding and repay bank debt of $1m.

Air New Zealand chief executive Rob Fyfe and Australia-based fashion designer Collette Dinnigan recently accepted invitations to join the board of Ecoya.

Ecoya creates home fragrance and body care products using natural bases.

It was founded by a family which escaped to Australia from Hungary soon after World War 2, according to its website. Its major stockists include Australian department store chain David Jones.

Since the 42 Below founders invested, Ecoya has increased revenue by 77 percent to $3.9 million in the 12 months to March 31.

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