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‘Beautiful Couple’ of Beverage Industry Settled.

‘Beautiful Couple’ of Beverage Industry Settled.

It’s official. Premium beverage company Charlie’s has completed its acquisition of Phoenix Organics Limited, owner of the popular super premium beverage brand.

The purchase, which was made public in early December, brings together two of the country’s most recognisable beverage companies, in a move that will see the consolidated Charlie’s Group with an approximate annual turnover in excess of $20 million in its current state, and offer it unprecedented access to the route and café trade.

Taking over the Phoenix reins completes a whirlwind month for the fledgling Charlie’s stock. The public company also enjoyed its first annual shareholder meeting, and made a share placement to selected institutional and private investors following the Phoenix Organics announcement.

Charlie’s Chairman Roger Gower is delighted to have sealed a deal that many industry commentators believe will have wide-reaching ramifications for the premium beverage industry.

“This sends a clear signal to the other players in the market that we are serious about living up to our potential as New Zealand’s number one distributor of premium beverage brands,” he says.

“To have two New Zealand companies that have both altered the face of the local beverage business under one umbrella reinforces our commitment to quality and to delivering the goods to kiwi consumers.”

Mr Gower says at this point it will be business as usual for the Phoenix operation, with management and process expected to stay as is. He does suggest though that assets such as Phoenix’s production and warehousing facilities offer increased flexibility for the Charlie’s business unit.

Charlie’s CEO Stefan Lepionka suggests the company will now take a few breaths before continuing with consolidation plans in 2006.

“We are all pretty buggered to be honest. We’ve launched a whole new range of Charlie’s smoothys, added new products and sizes to our juice range, run a new, controversial advertising campaign and bought a fantastic company. Now is a good time to take stock,” he says.

He could be right about the last bit.

Charlie’s is required to make a final payment of $2 million relating to the acquisition of Phoenix Organics on February 28, 2006.


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