Vehicle tracking device firm EROAD surges after reporting 62 percent rise in US revenues as US states eye road-user charges plans

Investors impressed: Despite transport technology company EROAD warning shareholders to expect a slower year in 2021 as potential customers review their investment decisions, investors focused on the company’s better than expected financial results. The current financial year had been positive for the company with revenue up 32 percent at $81.2 million.

Bigger fleet: During the year EROAD added more than 10,000 units, or 15 percent growth, to finish the financial year with a contracted fleet of 80,366 vehicles. Revenue in North America increased by 62 percent while EBITDA grew by 73 percent to $27.1 million from $15.6 million. Net profit was $1 million, compared to a loss of $4.9 million the previous year.

The outcome: EROAD shares closed up 11.9 percent sharply gaining at an 18-month high of $3.29 on Friday.

Revolving chairs: Former ASB Bank CEO Barbara Chapman is the new chair of under-pressure media group NZME. The move follows the sudden departure of previous chair Peter Cullinane, who had been up for re-election, but resigned just minutes before the company’s recent annual meeting was due to begin after losing the confidence of several major institutional investors.

One in – one out: Chapman, who also chairs Genesis Energy and is a director of Fletcher Building, will resign her directorship at IAG New Zealand at the end of the month due to the new appointment.

Cracks emerging: Metro Performance Glass has recorded a $77.9 million net loss for the year ended March compared with a $5 million net profit the previous year. The result was impacted by a $86.5 million writedown of goodwill relating to its New Zealand operations due to increased competition, the impact of Covid-19 and an expected reduction in construction activity for the next 12 to 24 months.

EBITDA falls: The writedown, and a further $4.6 million in Australian restructuring costs, dragged its bottom line lower. However, the company did meet its downgraded earnings guidance with earnings before interest, tax and before the one-off costs of $23.2 million, down 8 percent from the previous year.

Big project risk reduction: Chief executive Simon Mander said it was “a solid result in challenging market conditions. In New Zealand, we maintained consistent revenue in our key residential segment, but had a decline in commercial glazing revenue as we reduced our risk exposure on large-scale projects.” Metroglass shares fell 6.4 percent, to 22 cents at the close. The company will provide an update on its trading performance and current conditions at its annual shareholders’ meeting on August 21.

RBNZ dilemma: Reserve Bank governor Adrian Orr will be under pressure once again this Wednesday with a rejuvenated kiwi dollar sitting just below 65 US cents and a slowing economy as a result of the continuing impact of Covid-19 weighing on sentiment. With the potential for a further round of QE to counter recent moves by the US Federal Reserve that has pushed the NZ dollar higher and further clarity around the possibility of a negative OCR by the end of the year, the RBNZ’s assessment of economic conditions will be closely watched.

Breakup likely: A long-expected breakup of Apple and Intel could be imminent, signalling both the end of one of the tech industry’s most influential partnerships and Apple’s determination to take more control of how its products are built . It’s understood Apple has been working for years on designing chips to replace the Intel microprocessors used in Mac computers.

True power: Apple’s move is an indication of the growing power of the biggest tech companies to expand their abilities and reduce their dependence on major partners that have provided them with services for years — even as smaller competitors and the global economy struggle because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Andrew Patterson is Newsroom's Markets Editor and has worked for decades as a financial journalist, radio presenter and editor with Australia's ABC, Radio Live and NBR.

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