Lion announces sale of Dairy & Drinks business

Lion Dairy & DrinksLion has announced today that it plans to commence a sale process immediately for its Lion Dairy & Drinks (LDD) business. Lion CEO Stuart Irvine said that it is the “best option” for future growth of both companies.

“Following careful consideration, we believe a sale of LDD is the best option to set both Lion and LDD up with the capital and resources needed to grow into the future,” Irvine said in a statement.

“Following the turnaround program, LDD has been transformed and now has a sound platform for future growth. It’s clear from the further work done in recent weeks that LDD’s strategy to more fully leverage growing consumer wellness trends will require new capabilities and capital investment. The sale process will focus on finding the right owner to take LDD forward and unlock its full potential.”

Last month, Kirin Holdings said that it was undertaking a strategic review of the business. The remaining Lion business has a number of avenues for growth available and the decision to sell the drinks part of the business will provide the capital needed to accelerate investment behind these.

“Our Lion Global Markets (LGM) business has made great progress with Little Creatures now available in 30 global cities, the acquisition of the Fourpure craft beer brand in the UK and continued growth in our fine wine business in North America. We intend to back LGM to explore further opportunities in high growth craft beer markets worldwide,” said Irvine.

Lion has built up a portfolio of premium, crafted non-alcohol beverages alongside its core beer brands and the company says its recent investments in hot beverages like Schibello coffee in Australia and Good Patron in NZ are showing promising early signs.

Lion will continue to explore opportunities in growing high margin categories in both alcohol and non-alcohol, with a view to nurturing and growing other craft beverage brands. Lion said that any sale of LDD will not impact Lion’s alcohol businesses in Australia and New Zealand.

Lion recently announced that it would cut up to 61 jobs at breweries in Queensland and South Australia.

Lion has appointed Deutsche Bank, King & Wood Mallesons and Greenhill and Co as advisers for the sale.

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