Black Swan dips business for sale

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 28th January 2014
The Black Swan dips brand is for sale

One of Australia’s largest dips brands, Black Swan, is for sale, seven months after it was placed into receivership.

The receiver, finance and risk management consultants Deloitte, said the sale is not related to the financial position of the business, and that Black Swan has a “demonstrated track record of profitability and top-line growth”. Deloitte said the brand saw sales of over 20 million containers of dip in Australia each year.

Deloitte has placed advertisements in major newspapers, seeking expressions of interest for the Black Swan brand. Black Swan is currently owned by Melbourne-based business Poisedon Tarama.

The sale will include the Black Swan manufacturing facility at Clayton in Melbourne’s south, control of the production line and distribution of over 80 dip and yoghurt varieties sold across Australia in Woolworths and independent supermarkets.

Brand history

Black Swan was founded by Christos Saristavros, who began using family recipes to produce dips that he sold at the South Melbourne market. At that time, Tarama (made from fish roe) dominated the business, but over time the business has expanded its range to include other flavours, including guacomole, hummous, tzatziki and eggplant, as well as Greek-style yoghurts. The Company employs over 75 people.

It was recently reported that the moves to put the business on the market are also connected with a dispute in the Family Court of Australia.

Mr Saristavros was fatally shot by an unknown man on October 22 2000, as he returned to his car with his wife after attending a charity function in the Melbourne suburb of Box Hill. The case is still reportedly unsolved, despite Mr Saristavros’ family offering a $1 million reward in 2003 for information that might help find his killer.

Movement in Australian dips category

The potential sale of Black Swan comes not long after another Australian dips manufacturer, Yumi’s, attracted investment from a private equity company. Australian Food News reported earlier in January 2014 that private equity firm Anacacia Capital had invested in Yumi’s, saying it was a “standout” in terms of potential in the Australian dips category.

According to market research organisation Nielsen’s ‘Retail World Grocery Guide 2012’, the Black Swan brand dominated the chilled dips category in 2012, with parent company Poseidon having 30 per cent value share and 29.3 per cent volume share. Yumi’s Seafoods brand had 6.2 per cent value share and 5.1 per cent volume share.

Other major players in the $180 million chilled dips category included Menora Foods (14.2 per cent value, 11.7 per cent volume), Goodman Fielder (12 per cent value, 10.5 per cent volume), Kraft (11 per cent value, 12.2 per cent volume) and Chris’ Greek Dips (10.6 per cent value and 12.2 per cent volume).

Deloitte said expressions of interest in the sale of the business should be received by 12 February 2014.