Forestry and timber trading company
Formerly known as Obtala
Manages and operates 1mln acres of forest concessions in Gabon and Mozambique
New kilns and sawmill to improve profitability this year
What it does
It is involved in the production, processing, manufacture and supply of sustainable African hardwood (i.e. beech and blackwood) and hardwood products.
The AIM company manages and operates around 1mln acres of natural forest concessions in Gabon and Mozambique, where it also has manufacturing facilities.
Its products are transported all around the world, and used for things such as boat building.
As well as harvesting and producing its own products, Woodbois also sources softwood (pine and redwood) and hardwood products and sells them across the globe.
Change of name reflects change in focus
Formerly known as Obtala, the company sold off its agriculture business in Tanzania earlier this year.
That was part of a move to double-down on the timber trading and production arm of the business, which bosses thought would help attract new investors and trade finance partners.
That turned out to be the case, with 1798 Volantis Fund, Lombard Odier Asset Management’s small cap team, subscribing for US$6.5mln (£5mln) worth of shares and committed to providing a US$5mln loan.
Lombard Odier is now the company’s largest single shareholder with a 25% stake.
How it’s doing
Woodbois kicked off 2019 with a record quarter, shipping an all-time quarterly high of 114 containers of timber and veneer during the three months ended 31 March.
That translated into record revenue of US$4.5mln for the period, a third higher than the same quarter of 2018 (Q1 18: US$3.4mln).
Shortly after it reported the record first quarter, Woodbois released its results for 2018 which showed a huge jump in revenue and underlying profits.
Revenues jumped to US$13.4mln from US$7.9mln, while gross profits had also increased to US$2.1mln from US$453,000 in 2017.
The group also reported pre-tax losses of US$5.6mln for 2018, smaller than the US$7.3mln loss the year before.
Growth is expected to pick up further as the year progresses, with new kilns scheduled to be installed in Gabon in the third quarter, closely followed by a new line of sawmilling equipment which should become operational before year end.
The new kilns will boost annual profits by US$700,000 as Woodbois won’t have to outsource this to third parties, while the new sawmill increases production and enhances recovery levels.
The recent investment from Lombard Odier, as well as US$10mln worth of trade loans secured since the beginning of the year, should also allow for bosses to add “significant scale” to the business in 2019.
What the boss is saying