Outgoing Kathmandu CEO Peter Halkett sells $4.4m of shares

Kathmandu Holdings [NZX: KMD] outgoing chief executive Peter Halkett sold 1.51 million of shares on market yesterday, reaping $4.4 million from the sale.

The outgoing head of the Christchurch-based outdoor goods retailer made the disclosure today in a notice to the stock exchange today, and Reuters data indicate the sale was at $2.95 a share. The trade comes after Halkett exercised options to buy some 560,000 shares for $1.2 million on Sept. 9, just over a week after he announced his resignation after eight years as head of the company. Halkett held about 1.51 million shares, or 0.75 of the company, as at Sept. 29, according to NZX data.

Last month the retailer posted a 4.5 percent decline in annual profit to $42.2 million, as earnings were hurt by a warmer start to winter, which dented trading of seasonal goods through a period when it holds one of its biggest annual sales. The company plans to invest $5 million to expand its business in the UK and Europe this financial year, in the first phase of a three-year strategy to build its global brand, which may dent earnings growth.

Retailers, particularly those in the rag trade, have been struggling to produce earnings growth, as international online sellers lure bargain hunters with cheaper products. Outside of Australasia Kathmandu is focusing on boosting its own online sales rather than expanding its physical store network, in order to capture some of the global market.

Halkett leaves the business on Nov. 25, and a recruitment process to replace him is underway. Chief operating officer Mark Todd will act as chief executive in the interim, having previously acted in the role last year when Halkett took a leave of absence to recuperate from a severe infection after a routine medical procedure.

Shares of Kathmandu fell 0.7 percent to $2.94 and have declined some 16 percent since the start of the year.


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