Internal Rate of Return (IRR) 55%

Fund

Partners Fund 1 (Advent 6)

Sector

Consumer
Money Multiple 2.7x

Inv. Date

December 2013

Exit Date

April 2016

Background

Founded in Australia in 1999, Gourmet Garden has approximately 200 employees and a modern manufacturing facility located in Queensland, Australia.  Gourmet Garden is an Australian export success story with its chilled herb products sold through over 25,000 retail outlets in 15 countries.

Advent made its investment in Gourmet Garden in December 2013. Shortly after Advent made its investment the new Lightly Dried product range was launched and is now sold in Australia, North America, and Europe.  The product is a world first, with the production technology developed in Australia and the raw materials sourced locally.  McCormick expects to work with the current management of Gourmet Garden to continue to drive double-digit sales growth through expanded distribution, increased brand marketing, and greater household penetration.

Investment Rationale

KEY QUALITIES
  • Unique market position with limited direct competition in its core products
  • Representation in 20,000 food retail outlets globally with geographic diversification
  • World class production facility that was purpose built in 2006
  • Shareholders and management that had strong track record and experience in the sector
  • Strong IP and product development pipeline requiring investment to be commercialised
INVESTMENT THESIS
  • Enhance the brand through targeted marketing initiatives
  • Continue growth of the core paste range at >10% p.a.
  • Successfully commercialise and launch new product ranges (lightly dried & drizzle products)
  • Control and manage production expansion risk for paste and the new ranges
  • Strengthen management team

Advent were a very supportive investment partner providing invaluable insight, focus and direction through the commercialisation period. We really appreciated their counsel over the past 2.5 years.

Nick White CEO, Gourmet Garden

Value Add

  • Empowered CEO with focus on core tenants of the investment thesis
  • Enhanced executive and board reporting, and implemented an executive incentive program
  • Sourced a high calibre CFO to lead the finance function
  • Improved external marketing support in Australia and the US
  • Ensured a disciplined production improvement process for new product lines
  • Provided further funding support and ensured ongoing banking support

Exit

After fostering positive relationships with key trade buyers throughout Advent’s investment period, the business was successfully sold to US listed McCormick’s in April 2016. The investment returned ~2.7x money multiple and a ~55x% gross IRR, which was driven primarily by earnings growth and the development of the business into an international strategic asset. McCormick will be a very supportive owner of the business and it is likely to continue to thrive under its ownership.