S-Ventures to branch out and diversify across different channels (AQSE:SVEN)

S-Ventures plc

S-Ventures plc (AQSE:SVEN) Chief Executive Officer Scott Livingston caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their agreements with Peter Cremer Holdings, what they add to the group and what else we can expect to see from the company going forward.

Q1: S-Ventures has announced agreements with Peter Cremer, can you just talk us through the structure of the deal?

A1:  So, it’s a factory in Frankfurt that produces and owns a brand called Lizza, which is gluten-free pastas, gluten-free from pizza bases and various paste products, bread rolls, gluten-free rolls.

What we’ve done is we’ve acquired the business for a nominal sum, we have some investment from Cremer in the form of £2 million which was invested 70p in S-Ventures and Cremer are a multibillion dollar family office that owned different types of businesses and commodities. It wasn’t a natural fit for them to own a consumer brand and we all felt that we had the resources and the skills to be able to build and grow the Lizza brand, they had been invested in it for some time.

Strategically, it fits as well so now they have a significant stake in SVEN and we have a European hub where we can grow, distribute our existing brands and grow Lizza across Europe and grow Lizza within the UK as well, and basically expand our operations. So, we bought 100% of the business, it’s obviously a German company, we own 100% of it and we intend to grow and build in Europe with all of our other products too.

Q2: Can you just explain for us who Peter Cremer Holdings are and what they’ll add to the group?

A2: Cremer are simply an investor, an arms-length investor, and we will be running Lizza and controlling Lizza under our portfolio brands. So, Cremer is essentially a strategic investor who we may do business within the future again, but ultimately, they are a shareholder.

They do have some similar businesses in similar fields providing some of the commodity in raw materials so there is expected to be some opportunity there in regard to supplying various ingredients that we use across our brands.

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Q3: What sort of food then does Lizza produce and how does that align with this venture strategically?

A3: So they produce a range of free-from, gluten free, wheat free etc. type of products, pastas, pizza bases, bread rolls etc. so where we are is in the free-from category.

We are dealing with similar sorts of buyers that would be buying that type of product, we have that similar type of consumer demographic. A lot of our bars, in the Pulsin range of our products for example, are free-from gluten, free-from dairy, free from etc. so we are reaching out to a base, for example, Celiacs or people who prefer healthier lifestyle choices etc. We intend to launch those types of products in the UK to expand our reach basically into more food service as well as snacking so to basically branch out and diversify across these different channels.

Q4: Now, I think you hinted at this earlier, but looking forward, what else can we expect to see from S-Ventures during the rest of the year?

A4: Well, we’re looking to build and consolidate the platform of brands that we’ve already bought. We do have a lot of work to do and obviously, we have a lot of macro headwinds as everybody else does. So, dealing with all of these challenges keeps us busy.

That said, there is a lot of opportunity out there at the moment. There’s a lot of acquisition opportunity and a lot of businesses that would strategically fit us that we can talk to and are talking to. Obviously, the world is changing and with that comes a lot of opportunity and a lot of challenges so we are playing defensively as well as offensively. We are looking for opportunities, but we’re also looking to cement, solidify and build our existing brands and our existing infrastructure.

That said, we have a number of opportunities that we’re looking at and continue to look at, so the intention is certainly to be acquisitive and to build this business quickly over the coming years.

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