Pokemon and Peppa Pig Toymaker Falls as Finance Chief OustedBy
Dowding’s contract ended on ‘breakdown of trust’: joint MD
Shares tumble as much as 8.2% before partially recovering
Character Group Plc, the British designer of Pokemon, Peppa Pig and Teletubbies toys, is heading for its biggest slump in six months after the ouster of Finance Director Mark Dowding.
The stock tumbled as much as 8.2 percent after the announcement, before recovering most of its decline. It traded 3.4 percent lower to 502.5 pence by 2:22 p.m. in London, still a bigger drop than for the broader U.K. market.
“It was nothing to do with trading or finances, we just sort of felt that there were a few relationships that had broken down,” Character Group’s joint-managing director Kiran Shah said in a phone interview.
Shah, who was finance director for three years until February 2016, will take over Dowding’s duties ahead of the release of full-year results in early December. He said he’ll also help guide the group through the Christmas period, in which it generates almost half of its annual revenue, before deciding on the long-term structure of the role.
There was a “fundamental” deterioration in trust and confidence between Dowding and the board, as well as other employees of the company, Shah said. Dowding was not doing anything illegal, he added. A voice-mail message left on Dowding’s mobile phone was not returned.
Although the London-based company’s brands are performing well, “we feel the consumer market is tough,” Shah said, partly because of the weakening of the pound following last year’s Brexit vote. He added that its ability to fill orders is not in question, though.
The win of U.K. and Ireland distribution rights for Pokemon earlier this month is expected to impact 2019 earnings after the toys go on sale next summer. Character Group also renewed its Teletubbies contract for three years in July. Scooby Doo, Fireman Sam and Postman Pat are other brands it owns.