Skincare brand Purely Byron, part owned by BWX, collapses

(Source: Purely Byron/ Facebook)

Purely Byron, the skincare brand co-founded by model and actor Elsa Pataky, has fallen into voluntary administration, becoming the latest casualty in a brutal year for Australian cosmetics and personal care labels.

Documents filed with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission reveal Purely Byron Pty Ltd appointed Cameron Gray and Justin Holzman of DW Advisory as joint administrators on Friday.

The company’s website remains online, with products listed in its web store as “Coming soon.” An Instagram page associated with the brand posted a new image on Tuesday morning.

However, Purely Byron’s business operations have been suspended while Gray and Holzman guide the business and its assets towards sale, the administrators said in a statement provided to SmartCompany on Wednesday.

The administrators did not immediately indicate what factors led to Purely Byron’s collapse.

“The current financial position and reasons for the appointment of the Administrators will be reported to creditors in the Administrators’ next report to creditors which will be issued in approximately 4 weeks’ time,” they added.

Purely Byron debuted its first skincare line in 2021 after Pataky, the wife of actor Chris Hemsworth, drew inspiration from the flora of their Byron Bay surrounds.

“I was introduced to some of the native botanicals grown locally in Byron and I was really intrigued,” Pataky says on the Purely Byron site, which appears to still be operating.

“I learnt that some of them could be clinically proven to effect change on the skin.”

While Pataky served as the face of the brand and its most notable champion, the administrators said she was not officially involved in the brand’s corporate leadership.

“Elsa Pataky has never been appointed as a director of Purely Byron and any arrangements Elsa Pataky has with Purely Byron are strictly confidential,” the administrators said.

Purely Byron is one of several Australian skincare brands to benefit from celebrity cachet in recent years, and skincare juggernaut BWX acquired a 49 per cent stake in the business in 2021, valued at $490,000.

That buy-in brought Pataky’s brand into a portfolio that includes Go-To Skincare, the buzzy line co-founded by writer and former skincare editor Zoë Foster Blake.

In February, a BWX investor presentation revealed a $2.8 million downgrade to the carrying value of its Purely Byron investment, largely due to loans the BWX group issued to the company.

Purely Byron is not BWX’s only concern: the ASX-listed company has watched its share price slump to 20 cents per share in recent weeks, compared to prices upwards of $7.50 in early 2018.

BWX booked an operating loss of $100.8 million for the six months to December 2022 financial year, with chairman Steven Fisher pointing to customer de-stocking — retail outlets slowing down their wholesale orders — as a major contributor.

The company also recorded a non-cash impairment of $60 million over the period, “attributable to the under-performance of our brands in the key segments of the Company,” Fisher said.

Financial documents obtained by The Australian reveal stock dilution has slightly lowered BWX’s equity in Purely Byron to 47.4 per cent, with Hemsworth’s own Byron Bay 1st Management claiming a 3.2 per cent interest.

Two other directors command a 22 per cent stake in the enterprise each.

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