Yoghurt go-getter five:am looks at partnership and float

Australian organic yoghurt company five:am is set continue its growth, as it expands further into the Asian market and begins to entertain offers from strategic partners.

Five:am founder David Prior told SmartCompany he would also consider an initial public offering for the company, but not if they were to secure a partner.

Prior began the company in March 2011, and says since that time, he had been primarily focused on expanding Australian distribution.

He says although they had made inroads in the Asian market in recent years, the Melbourne-based company was looking for a more strategic distribution similar to their Australian approach.

Five:am has grown at a rapid pace, with their products now stocked nationally in both Woolworths and Coles supermarkets, and sales increasing from $7 million in 2012 to $23 million in 2013 and $36 million in 2014.

Prior says he had received plenty of interest in acquisition and partnerships since 2011, but hadn’t considered them seriously because the company hadn’t needed them.

But he says since the company was now looking at building a plant is Asia, it made sense to look for strategic distribution there to meet the huge demand for Australian dairy.

“I have gone to Asia 10 times in the last 12 months and the demand for Australian food, specifically diary and especially organic dairy, is huge,” says Prior.

Prior puts the business’ local success down to the taste of the yoghurt, but says the value of the organic product and the wide availability has played a huge role.

“People can pick up the organic yoghurt with the toilet paper; they don’t have to go to a specialised retailer.”

The company’s sales for 2015 are forecast to grow at similar rates to recent years and five:am will add new products, including an organic baby yoghurt.

He says while it was a bit early to say whether he would sell the entire business, he would never rule it out.

“But there’s so many exciting things happening at the moment,” he says.

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