Friday, August 29, 2008

Charlies juices through the shareholder cash

I have never liked Marc Ellis or his schoolboy type self promotion. It is very hit and miss.

While managing to garner alot of attention for short period of time, Ellis' promotional activities lack substance and I doubt do well in the long term for the business or product being promoted.

His university degree is in commerce at Otago University, majoring in marketing and management, so there is no surprise as to why marketing is at the forefront of his business regime.

His Charlies Group Juice Company [CHA.NZX] seems to be a case in point.

The announcement last week of a NZ$425,000 FY loss to June 2008 mounts on top of other losses incurred since it listed in 2005.

Charlie's was started in 1999 by Stefan Lepionka, Marc Ellis and Simon Neal and has grown rapidly in sales since its listing but has failed to sustain any profitable growth.

Its sales come from its Charlies brand juices and a number of other brands, in New Zealand and Australia.

Charlies seems to have the Burger Fuel or 42 Below approach to business-growth without profit- but that runs at odds with the way most business operates and the way I like the businesses that I own to run-at a profit, for the majority of the time.

I might have this all wrong though, as I could with Burger Fuel.

Charlies might be a big company in the making or a business that Ellis and his mates will flog off to a large conglomerate like Coca Cola Amatil [CCL.ASX] as one of Marc's fellow directors Stefan Lepionka did with his Stefan's Orange Juice which was purchased by Frucor Beverages in 1997.

However, there has been little sign of a good sustained profit thus far and they seem to be chewing through shareholder funds rapidly in the objective to grow yet bigger.

I would love to be proven wrong.


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c Share Investor 2008