New Zealand’s Comvita has received an offer from a “credible offshore party” to acquire all of its shares, a day after booking a first-half loss.

The NZX-listed honey producer has attracted a “highly conditional unsolicited, indicative, non-binding proposal”, according to a statement released today (22 February).

Comvita added the indicated offer price represents “a significant premium to the current share price”. The company’s share price closed yesterday at NZ$1.79 ($1.11), but jumped 25% to NZ$2.25 by the close of trading in New Zealand today.

The unnamed party has indicated it would prefer to implement any acquisition by a “negotiated scheme of arrangement”. Comvita said it has concluded an initial exchange of information with the offshore party.

It wrote: “The board has decided to provide further access to confirmatory due diligence information with a view to determining whether the NBIO [non-binding offer] may evolve into a formal proposal that might be in the best interests of all shareholders.”

Yesterday, the Manuka honey maker posted a net loss after tax of NZ$3.2m for the six months ended 31 December 2023, compared to a profit of NZ$4.2m the year before.

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Comvita marked a 7.8% drop in revenue year-on-year, reaching NZ$103m due to “weaker consumer sentiment in mainland China” and losing “some distribution with one customer” in North America.

Greater China revenue was NZ$45m, down 13%, and North America revenue was NZ$13m, a decline of 37%. Mainland China revenue for the half-year was NZ$33m, down 19% from the previous year.

The business “expects a steady improvement in consumption through the second half” and has “identified NZ$8m of specific cost savings to be made in H2 FY24”, according to a filing.

CEO David Banfield said: “After three and a half years of consistent performance growing both top- and bottom-line, in line with our market guidance and strategic plan, we are disappointed in this result, which reflects current trading conditions.

“The team and I are absolutely focused on doing everything possible to ensure a return to our track record of delivering consistent top- and bottom-line growth.”