Maggie Beer shines in Longtable year

Maggie Beer Products are emerging as the star of multi-brand premium food group Longtable (ASX: LON) whose results continue to be held back by other brands in the business.

Now in its first full year of ownership, Beer’s iconic Barossa Valley fine foods are continuing their turnaround following 2019 when they cut fixed and overhead expenses by more than $2 million and netted an EBITDA of $2 million.

Acting CEO Chantele Millard told Longtable’s annual general meeting that EBITDA for Maggie Beer was above 10 per cent in the first half of the 2020 financial year, with its core team now working across the group.

Beer recently launched a new cheese range and range of plant based meals in independent stores, and announced a tie-up with Emirates Leisure Retail and a new Maggie Beer Kitchen (below) for Adelaide airport which is undergoing expansion.

Maggie Beer said: “I am really looking forward to creating the menus and overseeing the retail space, to provide travellers with the food they love.”

In March Beer sold the last 52 per cent of the business she created over 40 years to Longtable for $10 million, remaining in a product development role and becoming a director.

During the year Longtable lost its chairman Tony Robinson and CEO Laura McBain who have been transforming the group towards 2022 goals of double digit EBITDA and turnover above $70 million.

But Maggie Beer’s gourmet ice creams, jams, sauces, pastes and cooking ingredients could not offset continuing losses by biodynamic dairy Paris Farms, driven by higher prices and drought affected availability of milk, and difficulties in securing national distribution.

The brand is continuing its cost cutting and recently introduced a nutritionally enhanced milk for children.

The third brand in the Longtable stable, St David dairy is continuing to grow sales and recentle launched plant-based milks.

Acting CEO Millard said: “Longtable has created a group of strategically positioned brands that meet the high expectations of consumers for premium quality, on trend products.

“With realignments to its cost base, the group can now build on the great work already done and create a compelling opportunity for growth in the domestic and export markets.”

Maggie Beer OA began her career at her Pheasant Farm in the Barossa Valley in 1979, and at aged 74 continues her active involvement with the business.

Picture: Maggie Beer farm shop

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