Buderim now has investor money to match innovative ginger marketing

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 17th October 2016

Australia’s largest ginger producer Buderim Group has welcomed an investment by Asia Mark Development Limited and Wattle Hill RHC of $AUD 26.1 million to buy a 23 per cent stake in the company.

Buderim Group CEO, Roger Masters, said that the move would enable the company to chase a bigger share of the Chinese retail sector.

Wattle Hill RHC is a private equity firm which invests in Australian businesses that are aiming to benefit from China’s growth.

Wattle Hill was founded and is headed by Albert Tse, the Hong Kong-raised son-in-law of former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Asia Mark is a business associate of QiaQia Food Co, a Chinese publicly listed company and one of China’s largest modern snack production companies.

A convertible note exercisable in three years could see the combined stake of the two new partners climb to 48 per cent.

Upturn for Buderim

The move by major investors to become involved in Buderim signals a major turnaround for the Buderim Group.

In March 2014, the group’s auditor had warned that Buderim might be unable to continue to trade despite having refreshed its brand, reduced its debt and closed a loss-producing business.

Buderim then went on to reduce its reliance on the sale of low-value commodity packages of ginger cubes or raw ginger and pushed further into branded products such as ginger-flavoured drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, as well as ginger snacks and ginger chocolate.

The drinks have been sold in Costco Canada since late 2015 and in the last six months, Buderim’s retail products, both ginger beer and ginger products, have been in some major Canadian supermarkets.

International growth

The Buderim Group’s 2015 annual report showed that exports by the company from Australia generated 44 per cent of its total revenue.

Sixty percent of Buderim’s revenue is now generated by its macadamia business, which it initially entered into by acquiring Australian plantations in 2007 as a second line of product.

To ensure the year-round supply of macadamias, in 2008 Buderim Group bought the macadamia processing facilities, branding and marketing of MacFarms in Hawaii.

In 2014, Buderim bought MacFarms’ Hawaiian orchard – one of the world’s largest.

Next strategy

The additional investment by Asia Mark and Wattle Hall will now allow Buderim Group to upgrade its ginger factories in Yandina, Sunshine Coast, QLD, and Suva, Fiji, and its macadamia farms and factories in Alstonville, NSW, and Kona, Hawaii.

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