World foods specialist Vibrant Foods is back in growth following a £30m refinancing.
The Exponent-owned group, created in mid-2020 through the acquisition of five Asian foods brands including TRS, East End Foods and Cofresh, has emerged from a “significant downturn in performance” in its 2022 financial year.
It posted a loss of £73m in 2022 on top of a £149.3m loss in the previous financial year, while headline sales were down by £10.8m to £195.6m.
It blamed the loss on significant cost inflation that it was unable to fully pass on during the year. The group also incurred significant non-cash charges, such as stock write-offs, bad debt and amortisation.
However, the group returned to growth by the end of 2023, under a transformation plan devised by the new leadership of Damian Guha as CEO and Nish Kankiwala as chair.
“We have emerged from a turbulent phase in 2021 and 2022, but the heavy lifting is done, and we are extremely confident and excited as we look to the future,” said Guha.
The group undertook a refinancing programme in mid-2023 that raised £30m of new funds to be used for working capital and capex.
It received two injections from financial institution Pemberton worth £2m and £12m and a further £18m injection from Exponent.
It also raised £25m in its 2023 financial year from the sale of its remaining investment in sister snacking group Warp Snacks and exited its remaining cash & carry business.
This refinancing removed the auditor’s “doubt on the company’s ability to continue” that was detailed in the 2021 accounts.
Guha added: “2024 will be a year where we at Vibrant focus fully on growing together with our key retail partners and look to bring more flavour to more families for more eating occasions.
“We have already returned the business to growth and are looking forward to building on this strong momentum through this year and beyond.”
It is understood that Vibrant’s core categories remain in both value and volume growth with buoyant demand for those products, highlighting what it sees as favourable external and macro-economic tailwinds for its categories, including the growth of plant-based foods, healthy eating, exotic flavours and scratch cooking.