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BGF announces cornerstone investment in Artisanal Spirits’ IPO

BGF News 23.06.2021.
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BGF has completed a cornerstone investment in The Artisanal Spirits Company plc, a specialist retailer of premium single cask, single malt Scotch whisky and other spirits, as part of its admission to trading on AIM. The admission took place on 4 June 2021.

Headquartered in Edinburgh, The Artisanal Spirits Company (ASC) is the owner of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), the leading curator and provider of premium single cask Scotch malt whisky to a global customer base of subscribers. Founded in 1983, SMWS commands a membership of 28,000 members, across 30 countries.

BGF invested £7 million in ASC as part of the IPO, which achieved a valuation of around £78 million following the listing. The deal marks BGF’s second investment in a Scottish IPO in 12 months, after BGF invested in Calnex Solutions plc, an established provider of test and measurement solutions for the global telecommunications sector in September 2020.

ASC has a track record of consistent growth. Between FY16 and FY19, revenues almost doubled from £7.6 million to £14.6 million, representing a CAGR of 24%. In FY20 revenue growth excluding sales from UK venues and events, which were significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, was 22%.

The funds raised through the IPO, along with the company’s existing cash resources, will allow ASC to develop its membership base, enhance its digital channels, grow internationally and bring new brands to market.

David Ridley, Managing Director at The Artisanal Spirits Company, said: “We are delighted to have completed our IPO, and are grateful for the support from new investors, such as BGF. The move onto the public markets will provide us with new capital, a raised profile and enhanced ability to bring new products to life, as we seek to capture an increased share of the growing market for premium Scotch whisky products to a global audience.”

Paddy Graham, head of BGF’s Edinburgh office said: “The investment in Artisanal Spirits marks our second IPO in Scotland in the last 12 months and is another great example of our regional investment model which has seen our Scottish investors work hand in hand with BGF’s quoted team. We were able to move quickly from point of introduction and were impressed by the company’s growth to date, its global footprint, and brand equity. The deal marks another strong growth story for the Scottish market, and we are delighted to have played a key role in the success of the IPO.”

Paul Stevens, BGF’s Head of Quoted Investments said: “We are proud to be investing in Artisanal Spirits, an exciting business which has demonstrated strong growth, both in the UK and internationally. As a premium brand, with a strong digital platform, Artisanal Spirits has high growth aspirations and an experienced management team we believe can execute on the opportunity. The listing on AIM is a validation of the company’s success to date and we look forward to working in partnership with the management team as it moves to the next level.”