Published at: The Daily Star, February 20, 2019
Appollo Ispat’s earnings per share nosedived in the first half of its financial year — a surprising turn given the corrugated iron sheet maker’s forecast of a jump in operating revenue for the period.
Its earnings per share for the July-December period stood at Tk 0.23 in the negative, down Tk 0.10 in the positive a year earlier, according to a positing on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website on January 31.
Earlier in March last year, the company had said its revenue will increase by Tk 540 crore annually due to higher production thanks to a new plant.
“This looks like cheating with stock investors as the company posted loss although it gave investors forecasts of higher revenue,” said Abu Ahmed, a stock market analyst.
If the company has any reason for racking up the losses, it could have disclosed it, he said. As per listing regulations, companies have to disclose reasons for significant earning swings.
Appollo Ispat’s website was not live yesterday, so investors could not know whether it uploaded its financial statement on the site. No such link was also available on the website of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE).
The half-yearly loss will not hurt the company’s sponsors much as their shareholding stood at 20.24 percent as on January 31.
Appollo Ispat’s share price almost halved to Tk 7.90 from Tk 15 in the last one year.
The corrugated iron sheet manufacturer got Tk 12 as premium when it listed in 2012.
Premium is an added amount to the face value of a stock and a company gets it at the time of offloading issues through an initial public offering.
“It is disappointing for investors as they don’t expect that a premium-winning company will suffer losses,” said Ahmed, also a former chairman of the economics department at Dhaka University.
The DSE would investigate Appollo Ispat to find out whether it deceived investors through the revenue disclosure, said KAM Majedur Rahman, its managing director of the DSE. The higher-ups of Appollo Ispat could not be reached for comments. The company’s chairman, Deen Mohammad, did not respond to phone calls and text messages from The Daily Star.
Earlier on February 7, Abdur Rahman, a director of the company, agreed to share the reasons behind the fall in the EPS. He needed clearance from the management to disclose the reasons and promised to get back. He never did, and stopped receiving calls from the correspondent.