Three years since troubled Victorian company Patties Foods was delisted
from the ASX following a private equity takeover, the company is in a much
better place. Bought out by Pacific Equity Partners (PEP) for $232m in
2016, the Bairnsdale producer of the iconic Four’N Twenty pie is one of a
growing number of companies private capital has removed from the ASX in the
past three years.
New investment in equipment upgrades and capacity expansion — close to $70m
in Australia and New Zealand in the 2018–19 financial year — has turned the
company into the world’s largest savoury pie bakery. Patties’ new owners
say the investment is paying off. Helped by a range of new flavours such as
craft beer-infused pies, annual revenue growth has surpassed seven per cent
after sitting at under five per cent before the acquisition.
Tony Duthie, managing director of PEP, argues private ownership has made it
easier for the company to launch innovative new products and marketing
campaigns. “In a private environment, you have more willingness and
capacity to take well thought-through risks to grow the business on a
longer-term basis,” he says.
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This article appeared in the February issue of Company Director magazine, the member magazine of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.