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Retail Food Group’s acquisitions paying off

Michels-PatisserieOrganic growth initiatives and a strategic acquisition have driven a 17.3 per cent profit rise to $33.5 million for Retail Food Group.

The owner of food brands including Gloria Jeans, Michel’s Patisserie, Crust and Donut King, said the acquisition of Hudson Pacific Corporation, completed in September 2016, heralded the further evolution of RFG into a “genuine full service food and beverage company, possessed of a diversified and global operating platform which offers an abundance of opportunity and scope for lasting shareholder rewards”.

Colin Archer, RFG chairman said the first half results demonstrated the company’s credentials in the execution of transformative acquisitive growth “while simultaneously investing in organic growth initiatives that position the company for sustainable long term success”.

RFG reported $56.6m EBITDA reflecting a 15.9 per cent increase on the prior corresponding period (1H16: $48.9m) and reaffirmed its FY17 guidance of c.20 per cent underlying NPAT growth.

On an underlying basis , 1H17 NPAT grew 12.7 per cent to $36.2m with 1H17 underlying EBITDA growth of 13.0 per cent on PCP (to $60.5m), translating to underlying EPS of 21.2cps, an increase of 8.3 per cent on 1H16.

RFG’s board today announced an interim fully franked dividend of 14.75cps (PCP 13.00 cps).

“The company’s 1H17 interim dividend reflects a balanced payout ratio of 69.5 per cent, which supports both shareholder returns and the organic and acquisitive growth opportunities a vailable to the company,” said Archer.

“Reflecting the strength of RFG’s business model, the 1H17 dividend represents the 21 consecutive occasion on which the Company has increased its distribution of profits to members,” he said.

Andre Nell, MD of RFG said a focus on building sustainable earnings, vertical integration capability, increased scale and the development of new channels to market, positioned the food retailer for “a multi-faceted and global growth platform that not only moderates risk, but enhances the company’s ability to capitalise on new opportunities whilst supporting existing business units”.

“As well, each of the company’s core divisions enjoyed enhanced 1H17 earnings, with the performance of RFG’s international franchising operations, with underlying EBITDA growth of 13.3 per cent to 10.1m, of particular note”.

RFG commissioned 138 new outlets across its domestic and international networks, closing the 1H17 with a global footprint of 2,556 outlets.

Weighted same store sales (SSS) and average transaction value (ATV) growth of 1.4 per cent and 2 .0 per cent

“An initiative that the company is particularly excited is the instore customisation options being applied to the Michel’s Patisserie brand system,” said Nell.

“Establishing a unique and scalable point of difference, the 1H17 launch of instore image printers will be supported later this year by an innovative 3D Chocolate Printer, which will put world first technology into the hands of our franchise partners, reinventing the celebration cake category,” he said.

During the 1H17, RFG granted an additional nine licences, increasing its network of international licensed territories to 78 across 10 brands.

“Despite encouraging traction to date, the global exploitation of the group’s brand systems remains a relative untapped opportunity which is being vigorously pursued,” said Nell.

“The company is in advanced negotiations for the entry of various Brand Systems into new markets, together with implementation of the Group’s international roasting hub model.”

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