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Sep 29, 2017

Freshii CEO 'disappointed' as company's credibility comes into question

First on BNN: Freshii 'still learning,' says CEO after slashing growth forecasts

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Freshii’s CEO admits it was a “very difficult” week after the company announced it was scaling back its growth plans Monday, sending its shares to an all-time low.

“I’m really disappointed,” Matthew Corrin told BNN in an interview Friday. “I went on the road and spoke to almost 100 shareholders over three days and helped them understand the re-guidance,” referring to the company’s plan to reduce the number of planned store openings.

Speaking at an investor conference in Montreal on Monday, Corrin said Freshii (FRII.TO) now expects between 90 and 95 net new openings for by the end of 2017, down from the previous target of between 150 and 160, including closures.

Freshii also cut its sales growth target — now aiming for $275 million to $285 million by the end of fiscal 2019, compared with its earlier forecast for as much as $365 million.

Analysts from RBC and CIBC downgraded the stock on the news as investors started to lose confidence in the Toronto-based fast food chain.

“All we can do is put our head down and execute on the business that we know we’re building,” Corrin said.

“We’re building a great company. The business fundamentals are sound – and that is a fact.”   

Despite the recent turbulence, Corrin suggested he is still the best person to lead the company.

“If I thought this was about firing somebody – somebody on my team or myself – I’m the first person to do that,” he said. “I’m not scared to fire fast. I have a track record for doing that. That’s not the case here.”

Corrin said Freshii has learned things as a young company that they didn’t have the benefit of knowing before going public.

Freshii began trading publicly in January at $11.50 after a $125-million initial public offering of its stock.

The company’s stock was trading at $5.69 as of Friday afternoon at 2:10 p.m. ET, up 4.6 per cent on the day but down 50.5 per cent from its IPO price.  

-- With files from the Canadian Press