Evans & Tate shareholders have paid a heavy price after the winemaker was a little too cute in its public comments this week.

Shares plunged from 70c earlier in the week to 49c Thursday close, a fall of 30% since the chairman first denied that professional administrators KordaMentha had been appointed.

Then came this press release announcing that Evans & Tate had appointed 333 Performance Management to help it improve its forecasting, planning and business efficiencies. What the company failed to disclose is that 333 Performance Management is actually a part of KordaMentha, even though its name can’t be found anywhere on the KordaMentha website. The firm is located at 333 Collins Street in Melbourne.

Could it be that 333 Performance Management is a Clayton’s administrator – the one you have when you’re not really in trouble? A cute way for KordaMentha to be involved in a company with problems, and obviously a nice little fee earner, while getting a head start on an administration.

Not that Evans & Tate is at that stage – but it will be worth keeping tabs on.

Peter Fray

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