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Australian sales growth turns juice-maker profitable

Tuesday 20th July 2010

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Charlie’s Group, the juice-maker formed by Stefan’s Orange Juice founder Stefan Lepionka and entertainer Marc Ellis, says strong growth in Australia turned it profitable this year.  

The company says it made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation of between $3.2 million and $3.4 million in the 12 months ended June 30, turning around a $925,000 loss a year earlier. It made a net profit of between $2.2 million and $2.4 million in the year, though half of that came from a $1.2 million gain on the sale of its Henderson site. Gross sales rose 1.7% to $34.3 million, the company said.  

“This has come from significant double digit growth in Australia and the 14 countries the group now exports to,” said chairman Ted van Arkel in a statement.

“New Zealand is slightly down on last year on a cases sold basis.”  

In February the company abandoned plans to raise new capital, saying the return to profitability took pressure of its balance sheet. The annual profit will be its first since 2007 and only its second since it listed in 2005.  

Charlie’s slashed net debt to $1.6 million from $7.1 million a year ago from the proceeds of its Henderson property sale and increased revenues. The remainder of its bank debt is under long-term arrangements until the third quarter of 2012.  

The shares were unchanged at 8.2 cents in trading today, and have slipped 2.4% this year.  

The audited results will be released next month.

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