Mowbray Collectables sold its stamp collection business to founder John Mowbray

July 10th, 2015 got to know that Mowbray Collectables sold all its shares in wholly owned subsidiaries Mowbray Bethunes (MBL) and Wildlife Philatelic Collections (WPC) to company founder John Mowbray for US$950,000 in a deal that included retaining the company name and logos.

The Otaki-based listed company announced at the end of last year that it was selling its stamp, coin and banknote trading subsidiaries as it looked to reposition the company after a US$1.9 million interim loss, described as "undoubtedly the worst in the company's history".

In August last year, Mowbray, 67, announced he was stepping down as chief executive.

On Wednesday he attended a special meeting of shareholders who voted 91 per cent in favour of selling to him. Business would continue as usual for the now private company, which he purchased with four associates, he said.

Its focus would be stamps but also coins and other collectables.

"I've been in the stamp business for 50 years and it will continue on as it always has - as the county's largest stamp dealing business".
He was disappointed Mowbray Collectables had not performed well.

"With the current financial market regulations it's [NZX] clearly no place for it to be".
The stamp collection was a "mature market" but still a viable one, he said.

"[Currently] there is an auction in Sweden where a collection of stamps, that includes New Zealand stamps, will fetch £5m".
The stamp market would inevitably slow down but he believed he could keep trading for some time.

"I love it [stamp collecting]. It's something I started as a boy and I'm pleased I’m still able to enjoy it. This is not quite how I imagined the business evolving but it is the correct decision for the shareholders".
It was the end of an era as a public company but not the end for Mowbray Collectables, he said.

Mowbray Collectables chairman Murray Radford said the group had "really struggled" but the listing was still valuable. The proceeds of the sale would go towards paying off the company debt.

According to the notice of meeting, the company had about $1.4m of bank debt.

The remaining interest of the company, Peter Webb Galleries, which is based in Auckland, will remain listed but it is intended to change its name to Bethunes Investments (BIL).

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