Following the sale of 42 BELOW Ltd in late 2006, founders Geoff Ross, Steve Sinclair and Grant Baker joined forces again, this time as investment partners in a venture capital business - The Business Bakery LP. The goal of The Business Bakery is to grow shareholder value through investment in companies with high growth potential.
The Bakery’s first investment was a 30.6% stake in mobile technology company - The Hyperfactory, which was sold to NYSE listed publishing company Meredith in July 2010.
In 2008 The Bakery purchased an 83% stake in Australian home fragrance company - Ecoya Ltd. With capital input and management expertise Ecoya grew rapidly and was listed on the New Zealand stock exchange in May 2010. Shortly after listing, Ecoya acquired skincare company Trilogy Natural Products. Three years later, the listed entity was renamed Trilogy International Ltd. On 18 August 2015 Trilogy announced the acquisition of CS Company Ltd, New Zealand’s largest independent fragrance and cosmetics distributor.
Trilogy International Ltd had annual revenues over $36m in the 2015 financial year. Recent guidance has revenue predicted to be between $75m and $79m, and EBIT to be in the range of $12m to $14m for FY16.
The Bakery now owns approximately 49% of Trilogy.
The Bakery also invested in Dorchester Pacific in 2009, which at the time was in moratorium. The Bakery assisted in the recapitalisation of Dorchester (along with fellow cornerstone shareholder, Hugh Green Group) and restructured the business to have it released from moratorium in 2011. Dorchester subsequently made a number of acquisitions including EC Credit Control, Oxford Finance and Turners Group. The company was renamed Turners Limited following the Turners acquisition. In the 2015 financial year company revenue was $96.5m with profit before tax of $19m.
The Bakery and associated interests own approximately 19% of Turners Limited.
The Bakery has also invested in Moa Brewing Company alongside Pioneer Capital and founder Josh Scott (of the Allan Scott family wine business). The Bakery owns 23% of The Moa Brewing Company. Moa is listed on the New Zealand Stock Exchange and is investing in growth as it pursues market share in the growing craft beer category.
In the future, The Bakery intends to only invest further through its investee companies where synergies are apparent and where acquisitions would help investee companies grow faster than they otherwise might have.
The founders of The Bakery believe that venture capital is an underserved investment segment in both New Zealand and Australia and therefore, that opportunities abound. Historically there are only a small number of people who have successfully converted small business to large businesses in the Australasian market, however the founders collectively have previously experienced success in multiple start up businesses (including 42 Below Ltd, The Hyperfactory Ltd, Empower Ltd, Netco Ltd and Blue Star Group Ltd) and believe that they have expertise, passion and track record to successfully grow their current investments.