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East Imperial runs out of cash

East Imperial, the New Zealand producer of ultra-premium mixers, has been forced into rescue discussions that will probably see it fall into liquidation or administration.

The company, which is listed on the London Stock market, has been unable to meet the recall of a £2m+ convertible note.

At the end of last week East Imperial told investors: “The board is now in discussions with professional advisors in connection with the company’s possible administration or liquidation, and with the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) regarding the potential suspension of trading of the company’s shares on the main market of the London Stock Exchange.”

The shares were subsequently suspended yesterday worth just 0.28p each. Initially they were sold to investors at 20p.

Despite winning numerous awards and securing listings at deluxe hotel hotels, notably in the United States, East Imperial has never been profitable, largely because it was ravaged by the effects of coronavirus on its favoured on trade market and then by the effects of the war in Ukraine and the subsequent sky high shipping rates.

Last August, INL Investments backed East Imperial through the issue of convertible loan notes. Last week’s update said it issued a convertible note instrument to East Imperial in August and a deed of share charge in October.

East Imperial says it “will update shareholders on the company’s financial position as soon as possible”.

In January, to meet continuing pressures on working capital, it “conditionally raised” around £325,000 – before expenses – through an issue of more shares in the business.

That provided a little respite, but at the time founder and CEO Anthony Burt said: “Working capital constraints for a good portion of 2023 made for a challenging year and slowed our planned expansion,” Burt said.

In the first half of last year it achieved sales of £1.3m, the same as a year earlier.

The company is due to announce full-year results later this month.

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