A move from glass bottles to cans drove an increase in market share for New Zealand’s Moa Brewing in the last financial year according to its latest annual report.
The NZX-listed company was positive about the outlook for the brewing business despite Covid-19 setbacks after the “turnaround” year.
Moa Beverages, recorded an underlying EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) loss of $1.4 million for the year ended March 31, 2020. This was an improvement on the $1.6 million loss the previous year, despite the late hit on sales from the of Covid-19 lockdown.
Moa Group – made of brewing and hospitality businesses – broke even at an underlying EBITDA level compared with a loss of $2m the previous year. Net earnings after tax, depreciation and amortisation were a loss of $4 million compared with a loss of $3 million in the prior year.
In the company’s annual report, executive chair Geoff Ross hailed the gains on the brewing side of the business thanks to reduced costs, moving their “classic” range from bottles to cans, and bringing in new products such as a low-calorie lager.
“The turnaround of Moa Beverages accelerated during the year … as the pipeline of innovation and new products coming to market saw market share improvements across all key channels,” Ross said.
“The business developed a new low-calorie Genuine Lager which was launched in October 2019, and released a suite of limited edition brews in 440ml cans that will rotate every quarter.
“The most significant change of the year was the move of the Classics range of products from glass bottles to aluminium cans, which has been received very positively by the market.”
The brewing business cut approximately $1 million from its operating cost base and reduced its working capital by $4.6 million compared with the prior year “resulting in strong positive cash inflows for the year”.
However, Ross noted that Covid-19 delivered a big dent in supermarket sales when Covid-19 hit.
“Moa Brewing was unable to supply distribution centres as supermarkets prioritised their operations in response to panic buying. Fortunately … sales recovered during Alert Level 4.”
According to the 2020 financial statements Moa paid $4.25 million in excise which roughly equates to production volume of 2.8 million litres, based on 5 per cent beer. The excise paid was down on the previous year ($4.3 million) reflecting the hit delivered by Covid-19.
The Moa Group reported total revenue of $38 million compared to $16 million in the prior year. The huge jump was thanks to the acquisition Savor, a restaurant group that includes some of Auckland’s high-end dining experiences. Moa later added iconic pizza restaurant Non Solo Pizza to their hospitality business.
Ross said the 2021 financial year looked positive, having “started strongly for both the Savor and Moa Brewing businesses, which is pleasing in light of the impact of Covid-19”.
“We have not been immune to the outbreak of COVID-19 with many of our venues shutting as the New Zealand government entered Alert Levels 3 and 4. While we acted quickly to maximise revenues through a new online home delivery business, Savor Goods, Covid-19 has had a significant negative impact on our business in the second half of the year.
“However, our new cornerstone shareholder and an oversubscribed capital raising of $8.3 million brings new potential for the year ahead and we are excited to continue our vertical strategy with an aim to be a ‘gate to plate’ and ‘vat to tap’ full-service hospitality group.”
Moa debuted on the New Zealand stock exchange (NZX) in November 2012 with an initial offering of $1.25 a share. Today shares are trading at 16.7c each.
In reporting their annual result to the NZX Moa noted that due to the uncertain trading environment they were unable to provide guidance on predicted earnings for the current financial year.