Never heard of CoolSculpting?

Maybe that’s why Total Face Group, a “medical aesthetics company”, is considering options for its future as earnings fail to gain traction.

Developed by US outfit Zeliq Aesthetic, CoolSculpting involves non-surgical controlled cooling of part of the skin. It’s said to get rid of stubborn fat beneath the skin “which resists all efforts through diet and exercise”.

A procedure called cryolipolysis freezes the skin to get rid of fat. The process has been approved by the FDA in the US and the TGA in Australia.

Total Face Group (ASX:TFG) went public in 2016, raising $6 million, issuing shares at 40c.

It followed that up by raising another $10 million at 25c last year and then another $3 million via a note convertible at 22.5c a share each just a few months ago.

TFG used the funds to buy up a host of clinics along the east coast of Australia. But sustainable earnings proved elusive, with its shares languishing around 15c before it ran up the white flag yesterday.

A coolsculpting advertisement

Despite high hopes for the CoolSculpting roll-out to its network of clinics, demand remained subdued, with a loss of $2.5 million last year from revenue of $22 million.

“The board has been disappointed with the company’s lower-than-expected group earnings across its network in FY17, driven largely by the earnings shortfall in the CoolSculpting offering,” the company yesterday told shareholders in a statement.

Even the broker for one of its raisings, Bell Potter, walked mid-year. It’s most recent research note on the company, issued in April, cut its target price for Total Face Group shares from 31c to 27c.

The weak earnings has prompted TFG to tap external advisors to review the operations and capital structure.

A review would consider all options including “the acquisition of TFG and its subsequent delisting”.

TFG said it had received “limited… incomplete … unbending” approaches from private equity and other potentially interested parties.

The disclosure of private equity interest prompted some quick buying interest which pushed the shares ahead, rising to 17c a pop at yesterday’s close.