Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
Our investment in Gourmet Garden
Gourmet Garden is an Australian export success story with its chilled herb products sold through over 25,000 retail outlets in 15 countries. The company processes, packages and markets fresh herbs and spices products in various flavours and formats. It is recognised as a market leader in the rapidly growing fresh herb and spice category. Production, R&D and distribution occurs at its headquarters in Queensland, Australia, with further distribution facilities in the USA and the UK.
Gourmet Garden had a unique market position with limited direct competition in its core products. The company had a world-class production facility that was purpose-built at its headquarters in Queensland, Australia, and a strong IP and product development pipeline that required investment for commercialisation.
Gourmet Garden’s Lightly Dried product range was launched shortly after Advent’s investment, and is now sold in Australia, North America, and Europe. The product is a world first, with the production technology developed in Australia and the raw materials sourced locally. Several initiatives were also developed to drive growth and operational efficiency. These included implementing a disciplined production improvement process for new product lines, increasing marketing in Australia and the US to boost brand awareness, enhancing executive and board reporting for decision making, sourcing a high calibre CFO to lead the finance function as the company grew, and implementing an executive incentive program.
The business was successfully sold to US-listed company, McCormick, in April 2016. The investment returned 2.8x money multiple, and a 56.6% gross IRR. The growth in the business was driven primarily by earnings growth, and the development of its international opportunities. McCormick has been a supportive owner of Gourmet Garden, and the business has continued to thrive under its ownership through expanded distribution, increased brand marketing, and greater household penetration.
“Advent were a very supportive investment partner providing invaluable insight, focus and direction through the commercialisation period. We really appreciated their counsel and the management team support provided over the past 2.5 years to grow the business while ensuring all parties focused on a strategy for an eventual exit. A key element in the success of the relationship with the Advent team was their correct level of involvement. They were always supportive but not intrusive in the day-to-day operation of the company.”
Nick White, CEO, Gourmet Garden