Food firm crashes
Van der Kuyl’s Parsley Box sees value wiped out
UPDATE 27 Oct: Shareholders in Parsley Box, the direct-to-consumer provider of ready meals backed by the entrepreneur Chris van der Kuyl, have seen their investments wiped out after the board said it may quit the stock market.
Shares plunged 45% to 2.2p on Wednesday from 200p when it floated in March last year which has seen the company’s value sink from £84m to just £1.6m. In early trade on Thursday the shares were down a further 11% to 1.95p, valuing the company at £1.42m.
Earlier on Wednesday the shares were down 60% at 1.6p, leaving the company worth £1.18m, almost half the sum pumped into the business by chairman Mr Van der Kuyl in July this year in an attempt to shore up its weakening balance sheet.
A series of warnings on its trading outlook followed its admission to the Alternative Investment Market, when it hoped to cash in on the trend for eating from home. But as life returned to normal new customer orders fell back. AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould described it as “the worst performing IPO of 2021”.
Investors snubbed an issue of shares earlier this year, with only £140,000 or 12.85% raised of the £1.1m proposed total.
Mr van der Kuyl subscribed for shares worth £1.87m giving him a 19.2% stake, while CEO Kevin Dorren bought shares worth £1.1m for a 15.2% holding.
Together with £5.9m pledged from the placing, the company raised gross proceeds of £6.07m, about £1m short of the target.
In a statement late on Tuesday, the board said it is now in the process of assessing the various potential sources of capital available to the company to fund its medium term growth plans.
“This assessment includes consideration of whether the company’s status as a publicly traded company continues to be in the interests of shareholders as a whole,” it said.
“The board currently consider that the cancellation of trading in the company’s ordinary shares… may provide greater opportunities to raise any additional capital required by the company in the future.
“In its assessment, the board will consider the interests of the company’s shareholders as a whole and, in doing so, have regard for its wider stakeholders.
“Any such delisting would be conditional on shareholder approval and there can be no certainty that proposals for a delisting will be pursued by the board at this time.
“The board intends to continue discussions with key stakeholders and a further announcement will be made in due course.
“The board wishes to confirm that 2022 trading remains in line with market guidance and the company has cash reserves in excess of £3.5m.”