East Imperial mixers

East Imperial made a range of ultra-premium mixers using high-end, all-natural ingredients

Upmarket tonic maker East Imperial has ceased trading after struggling to manage its cashflow over the past year.

The group suspended trading in its shares on the London Stock Exchange this morning and is preparing to appoint administrators or liquidators.

It comes after the supplier of premium mixers was hit on Friday by an immediate redemption notice from INL Investment, connected to a loan agreed last year. The facility – agreed in July and drawn down on in August and November – totals £2.2m, plus interest.

East Imperial said it was unable to meet the liability.

“The company has ceased trading, and the board has resolved to seek the appointment of an administrator or a liquidator to the company,” a statement to the LSE added today.

“The board will provide an update to shareholders as soon as possible.”

Founded in New Zealand in 2012 by former M&C Saatchi executive Tony Burt, East Imperial makes its high-end mixers to a 1903 East African recipe using all-natural ingredients. It supplies luxury hotels and hospitality venues in the US, Asia Pacific and Europe, but does not have a presence in the UK despite its London listing.

East Imperial listed on London’s junior Aim market in 2021 via a reverse takeover of a cash shell vehicle.

The company was valued at £30m at the time and also raised £3m of fresh funds in a placing of shares to take on market leader Fever-Tree.

Shares peaked at 20p by the end of 2021 before collapsing in 2022 and 2023 as the business was held back by working capital constraints.

East Imperial secured the loan note from INL to strengthen its finances and then raised another £325k in a placing in January.

A trading update in February said the business was in “ongoing discussion” with potential debt funders to support ongoing expansion.

It added it expected to be cashflow break-even by the fourth quarter of this year.

East Imperial was due to post financial figures for 2023 this month, with the expectation of revenues having fallen to £2.4m from £3.2m in 2022.

The brand supplied the likes of the Mondrian Hotel in Miami, the Peninsula in Chicago and the Ritz-Carlton in Shanghai, among other prestigious hotels.