By Suze Metherell
Barry Wallace and Peter Kraus, directors in Ebos Group, have reduced their stake in the animal and healthcare products company as the share price trades near record highs.
Wallace and Kraus sold 4.5 million shares for a total $66.5 million, reducing their collective stake below the 5 percent threshold deemed a substantial shareholder, according to a notice lodged with the NZX.
Their Whyte Adder No. 3 investment vehicle reduced its stake to 2.38 percent from 4.63 percent, and their Herpa Properties sold its entire 0.88 percent holding.
Ebos stock last week touched a record $14.05 and has advanced some 41 percent since the start of the year.
The stock recently traded down 2.9 percent at $13.45. According to the company's 2015 annual report, as at June 30, Whyte Adder was the third largest shareholder, while Herpa was the 13th largest, and together were one of three substantial shareholders.
In 1990, Kraus's Whyte Adder held a 55 percent stake, although it has steadily watered this down over the past two decades.
Kraus was re-elected to the board at this week's annual meeting having joined in 1993. Wallace was appointed to the board in 2001.
In a separate statement, Ebos said it had "been advised that this sale is part of the management of the financial affairs of the Kraus Group. Peter Kraus has been a director and shareholder of the company since 1990 and wishes to emphasise his ongoing confidence in the company and its future, as evidenced by Whyte Adder No 3 Limited's remaining shareholding of 3,596,425 shares."
Ebos has gone through various incarnations since it was formed in 1922 and listed in 1960. Its annual profit has grown from $401,064 and sales of $18m in 1989 to a profit of $105.9m, on $6.1 billion in sales for its 2015 year.
Earlier this week it told shareholders it expects annual earnings to again grow at a "double digit" rate, saying it has recorded a "positive start" in the first quarter.