The Daily Telegraph
‘Something awry’ as Naked Wines director leaves after three weeks
‘It’s a very odd set of circumstances, something that you don’t see very often. There are clearly problems’
NAKED Wines has lost more than a third of its value after a director who spent just three weeks in the role stepped down, prompting speculation that “something has gone awry”.
The online wine seller announced that Pratham Ravi, an analyst with one of Naked Wine’s largest shareholders, Punch Card Capital, had resigned as a non-executive director with immediate effect. Mr Ravi only joined the Naked Wines board on Aug 25. Florida investor Punch Card holds around a 10pc stake in Naked Wines, according to the latest filings.
The resignation has taken investors and analysts by surprise. Wayne Brown, who covers the stock for Liberum, said the exit suggested “something has gone somewhat awry”. He cut his target price on the company by a third. Davy branded the update “enigmatic”.
Punch Card did not immediately respond to requests for comment. A spokesman said Naked Wines could not comment on the reasons behind Mr Ravi’s departure.
News of Mr Ravi’s departure came as Naked said it is reviewing its finances for the next 18 months and announced talks with lenders over its credit facility.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Naked Wines said its focus was “on developing plans demonstrating increased profitability, cost restraint and improved payback”.
It promised a further update when it issues a trading statement in October. Davy analysts said: “We are unsure quite what to make of that – there is clearly some strategic introspection at work and seemingly possible tension around credit facilities.”
Mr Brown said: “The business update talks about cost-cutting, focusing on profitability going forward, which we interpret as a change in strategy and not being so aggressive on growth.
“This could imply a smaller business in the future and reining in ambitions, which makes sense considering how poor key performance indicators are.”
Lee Wild, head of equity strategy at Interactive Investor, which holds more than a million Naked Wines shares on behalf of its customers, said: “It’s a very odd set of circumstances, something that you don’t see very often. There are clearly problems at the business, and have been for some time.
“Whatever’s wrong and going on internally, it’s clear that there’s a lot of hard work needed to put it right.”
Shares in Naked Wine slumped 38pc yesterday, worsening a slide which has wiped almost 90pc off its value over the past year. Naked Wines warned in June that it was facing growing struggles hanging on to customers.