Australian brewery and distillery investment company Founders First (Founders) has reported its results for FY2020, and while it has posted a loss the company says it is well positioned for strong growth and momentum in 2021.

Founders listed on the ASX in December of last year and in posting its maiden ASX results highlighted a number of key activities for the year including:

  • The completion of four acquisitions and eight equity investments
  • Investment in digital infrastructure to ensure its ecommerce capability
  • Strong growth in Q3and Q4 despite the impact of COVID-19 on the on-premise
  • Agreeing a joint business plan with Coles to align long-term growth aspirations

Founders Managing Director, Mark Haysman, said: “I am extremely proud of what the Founders First team has achieved in FY20, Our results are strong, growth is accelerating, and we are executing our strategy at pace during challenging times.

“There is huge opportunity in front of us to create a significant and sustainable craft business that benefits our shareholders, partners and the craft beverage industry in this country. The macro theme surrounding craft is here to stay and given the calibre of our team we are uniquely positioned to solve industry-specific problems and create a thriving craft beverage business.”

He added: “FY2- is just the beginning, the prize is still ahead of us. We have invested significantly through COVID-19 to ensure we are ready to accelerate as we exit this difficult period. There will be consolidation in the craft industry, and we will continue to ensure we are well place to capitalise on these opportunities.

“We have a strong balance sheet, have strong momentum and are laser-focused on executing against our strategy of becoming the strongest craft collective in the world.”

Although the company reported an adjusted FY20 loss of $5.9m, Founders did complete “a significant number of transactions” throughout 2020, resulting in a portfolio of beer, spirits, ready-to-drinks, and venues, which is says “have large upside potential”.

Those transactions included buying 100 per cent of Kangaroo Island Distillery and 65 per cent of Australian Native Spirits (Green Ant Gin), as well as investing in Brogans Way in Victoria, and Torquay Beverage Company (formerly K Booch).

Haysman said: “Both Kangaroo Island Spirits and Green Ant Gin have amazing backstories, which haven’t been told to date outside of South Australia.”

Founders has 14 venues across the wider group, which have all been impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions to varying degrees.

Haysman added: “The business responded swiftly to mitigate the impact of the closure and in some ways we have benefited as we have been able to review our cost structures and ensure that our venues are set to provide a platform for growth and brand connection over the coming year.”

Looking ahead Haysman said: “Our business model is unique. We have a huge opportunity in front of us to create a scale craft business. The macro theme is clear and the problems in the industry are clear – our business model solves these issues for retailers and craft brands.

“Our ambition is big, we want to become the leading craft collective in the world and we have assembled a team that can execute our strategy with speed and we are incredibly excited about what the next few years will bring.”

Founders describes itself as a business that invests in “entrepreneurs with bold ambitions; exciting small and medium-sized businesses, with teams demonstrating the acumen and appetite to fulfil their potential and become the iconic, industry-leading names of tomorrow”.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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