Computershare founder set to lead beer company revival

Wealthy entrepreneur Chris Morris, founder of global share registry giant Computershare, will become chairman of Perth-based independent company Empire Beer Group after the company announced a $1.9 million capital raising.

Wealthy entrepreneur Chris Morris, founder of global share registry giant Computershare, will become chairman of Perth-based independent company Empire Beer Group after the company announced a $1.9 million capital raising.

 

Morris, who is valued at more than $500 million, is a long-time supporter of Empire and was a foundation shareholder of Empire since it floated in January 2007.

 

In August last year Morris stepped in to buy the leaseholds for the Royal Hotel in Perth and Colonial Brewing Co in Margaret River via his private company for $4.45 million. Empire had been attempting to sell the assets for some months but found it impossible as credit markets dried up.

 

The sales of these leaseholds marked a change in strategy for the company and the $1.9 million renounceable rights issue is designed to build the company’s cash reserves to pursue other acquisitions and other opportunities.

 

Morris’s private company Finico will remain the largest shareholder of Empire after the rights issue, which is underwritten by Max Capital. The board will also be restructured, with Max Capital managing director Tony King and stockbroker Greg Bandy joining as directors.

 

Morris also owns the iconic Portsea Hotel on Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula.

 

 

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