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Charlie’s Predict $50m Sales By 2010

Shareholders Warm To Charlie’s Prediction Of $50m Sales By 2010

Listed beverage maker Charlie’s Group Ltd has laid the groundwork for boundless growth, Chairman Ted van Arkel told the company’s annual meeting in Auckland yesterday.

“That potential is a multinational premium beverage company with no boundaries,” he told about 200 shareholders at the Ellerslie Event Centre, which was decked out in the theme of the company’s new natural fruit soda brand, Charlie’s Soda Co.

“The outlook remains extremely positive for the group and we have a number of plans in place to grow the gross sales at over 20% per annum compounding.

“If we continue at this rate we will take the group’s gross sales to nearly $50 million in the year ended 30 June 2010. This is almost double our 2007 gross sales turnover.

Mr van Arkel said for Charlie’s to enjoy long-term growth it had to continue its “reinvesting for growth” strategy which was announced at last year’s annual meeting.

“Everything that we as directors approve and everything chief executive Stefan Lepionka and his team carry out has the strategic aim of creating long-term sustainable growth whether by the expansion, enhancement or creation of new products or by acquisition of businesses that complement the Charlie’s Group model. It is as simple as that.”

Mr van Arkel and Mr Lepionka compared the company to a maturing orchard that would in time reap the benefits of intensive nurturing and planning.

Mr van Arkel said the company had spread beyond New Zealand, not just in exports but by the recent acquisition of the beverage-manufacturing assets of the South Australian-based Gallard and Mirage groups, giving it a strategic stake in the trans-Tasman beverage market.

“As a result of this bold move into Australia we have experienced strong sales growth both in New Zealand and Australia. This, along with the launch of new products at home, makes Charlie’s Group one of the most exciting companies in the beverage business.”

Mr Lepionka described the year under review as “fantastic” and one in which the company recorded a substantial rise in sales across the board.

“In supermarkets at year end, we had 9% value share of the total juice market, an increase of 19% over the previous year, and still growing,” he said. “This shows that we can compete with the big players and the market is moving towards more premium and quality juice brands.”

Mr Lepionka gave shareholders other examples of success during the 2007 financial year:

  • Operating revenue in the route channel grew an impressive 17%.

  • Export market operating revenues grew from $2.25 million to $2.7 million.

  • Focus on developing new business in Australia yielded an average of 60 new accounts a month.

  • The Henderson plant benefited from capital spending of $600,000, mostly on plant and equipment, resulting in increased efficiencies and increased volume of stock dispatched through the Henderson warehouse.

Mr Lepionka said in the first four months of the current financial year, Charlie’s Group sales were 20% ahead of the corresponding four months last year,

“Even more encouraging is the incremental growth that has been building through those months as new products and marketing has come on stream.”

Shareholders agreed to all resolutions at the meeting, including:

  • Re-election of Mr Lepionka as a director to the board;

  • Re-election of Mark Darrow as a director to the board;

  • Re-appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as external auditor for the company;

  • Approval of executive share options to the chief executive.

ENDS

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