February 4, 2023

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Autostore CFO Bent Skisaker tendered his resignation - the stock fell by more than twelve percent

Autostore CFO Bent Skisaker tendered his resignation – the stock fell by more than twelve percent

Bent Skisaker has ended his work as CFO at Oslo-listed Autostore, the company announced Monday morning.

He states that the search for Skisaker’s replacement will begin immediately, and that he will remain in the position until the person in question is appointed.

Bent was an outstanding CFO, and his leadership and experience have been very important to Autostore in many areas, including last year’s IPO. We wish him all the best going forward, says new CEO Mats Hofland-Fix in an exchange announcement.

According to the letter, Skisaker wants to “look for other opportunities.”

– It’s been great working at Autostore. This is a natural step as Autostore prepares for the next phase of growth. Skisaker says I have great faith in the company’s future and will continue in this role to ensure a successful transition period.

Only the CFO resigns After just over a week it is clear that Carl Johan Lear will step down as CEO.

Low heavy inventory

The news was poorly received by market players, which sent the share price down 12.4 percent on Monday. Autostore share cost NOK 17.75 at the close of the stock exchange.

– said ABG Sundal Collier analyst Daniel Vårdal Haugland, who covers Autostore to DN – Obviously, a move of more than 11 percent is intense in such a large share.

The analyst confirmed that he did not want to comment specifically on the management change, but added:

Several hypotheses can be formulated about what is the basis for the reaction we are witnessing today. It is reasonable to think that the market fears that the fourth quarter report will be bad. But based on what the company said previously, we have no reason to believe that its fourth-quarter numbers will be disappointing.

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– But can you understand that the market reacts negatively when two alternatives at the top of management are very close to each other?

– In general, I can say that I understand that it creates uncertainty. Whether that makes sense can be debated. We have no reason to take the negative view that there was an alternative in and of itself. Haugland says the general manager’s departure was a little more expected, since Lier has been there for a long time.

ABG and Haugland themselves have a hold recommendation on the stock with a price target of NOK 20, and Haugland cites increasing macroeconomic uncertainty and tough times in the e-commerce sector as the reason. However, the target price and recommendation have a six-month horizon, and Haugland believes Autostore could be a winner in the long run:

– We continue to believe that Autostore is a great company that has delivered great numbers historically and we have faith in them for the long haul, says the analyst.

With a market capitalization of NOK 61.5 billion, Autostore is the 13th largest company on the stock exchange, ahead of Aker and after Orkla.

– so sad

EQT was among the owners who just over a year ago listed Autostore’s stake to great effect on Oslo Børs. When asked if the PE director, who remains among the largest owners at Autostore, was concerned about the departure of the second boss in just over a week, EQT partner Magnus Tornling replied:

“We’re not worried because we think the Autostore organization is too strong to rely on single individuals,” says Tornling.

He acknowledges that it’s not only positive news that bosses are leaving their jobs of their own accord:

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It’s unfortunate, of course, that talented people choose to move on, but we’re not worried we won’t find a good replacement, Turnling says.

14 years in the chair of the president

In mid-November, Lear announced his departure, after 14 years as president of the robotic warehouse company. Thus, the 34-year-old Fix, who was the company’s director of sales, will take over the top job when Lear retires in March next year.

– I’ve had a discussion with the board about the timing since the IPO. The decision is made much easier with a good internal filter. There were all-outs, and I’m very relieved that they’re going to be Mats. Lear told DN he was the natural candidate to take this company to the next level.

When the company debuted on the main listing last year, it was the largest listing in 20 years. Meanwhile, the overall conditions have changed. Accelerated price growth is matched by strong interest rate hikes from the world’s central banks, which particularly affect the so-called growth stocks.

These are companies where the value of the stock market reflects belief in increased income in the future. Autostore has fallen more than 43 percent since then.

– We try not to look at the cycle every day, so to speak, because it is volatile. What is important for us is to fulfill what we promised. If you look at what we promised on the list, we delivered in 2021, we’ll deliver in 2022 and we’ll continue next year. Lair added that we can only do our best, so the development on the stock exchange will follow accordingly.

Noise

When Autostore reported its third-quarter numbers earlier in November, they showed a decline in sales volume and pre-tax earnings. When measured year on year, the growth is phenomenal, with an upper end increase of 74 percent.

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Although capital has become more expensive and potential clients are supposed to view large investments more carefully, the company highlights wage pressures and the struggle for labor in important markets as a counterweight.

In addition to the macro economy, two factors in particular contributed to the noise around the share.

  • Its largest owner, Japanese technology group Softbank, has lost tens of billions of dollars in its technology and growth investments.
  • The costly patent dispute with rival British robot company Ocado remains unresolved, with several defeats in the US, and a delayed outcome in the British part of the case.

He has an international patent dispute with Ocado The course is long, and is carried out through lawsuits and counterclaims in courtrooms from the USA to Germany. To date, Autostore has cost more than half a billion kroner.

Specifically, the disputed patents relate to Autostore’s “Black Line” — a robot launched in 2019. It was the first major addition to a series of robots beyond the Ferrari-red versions the company is known for.(Conditions)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We’d like you to share our statuses using links that lead directly to our pages. Reproduction or other use of all or part of the Content may be made only with written permission or as permitted by law. For additional terms look here.