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Canadian vitamin firm Jamieson Wellness targets Asia expansion after $300m IPO

By Cheryl Marie Tay+

06-Sep-2017
Last updated on 06-Sep-2017 at 17:38 GMT2017-09-06T17:38:39Z

President and CEO Mark Hornick believes the IPO will help Jamieson's expansion in Asia.
President and CEO Mark Hornick believes the IPO will help Jamieson's expansion in Asia.

Canadian supplement firm Jamieson Wellness is targeting expansion in Asia on the back of a successful IPO, with its CEO identifying Asia's rising affluence and ageing population as two reasons for optimism.

In May this year, the vitamin manufacturer filed for an IPO of C$300 million after unsuccessfully attempting to find a buyer last year.

While the money raised from Jamieson’s share of the offering will go to paying offering expenses, repaying debt, returning capital and paying dividends to its preferred shareholders, it believes this IPO — led by the Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal — will aid its expansion plans in Asia.

President and CEO Mark Hornick said, “The Asia market has been a great opportunity and focus for us for some time now. We have a significant presence and are experiencing high growth in the region. Further expansion is clearly in our sights.

“I expect the IPO will only help the long-term strategy we’ve put in place to grow in that specific market. It will help us with increased access to capital to continue growth in this market.”

At present, the company’s presence in Asia consists of Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, South Korea and Indonesia.

Stakes and shares

Jamieson employs approximately 800 people at its manufacturing facilities in Ontario and corporate offices in Toronto, including a dedicated team that works with overseas distributors and retail partners. The company also lays claim to about 25% of the Canadian vitamin market.

According to Hornick, the firm’s international revenue more than doubled between 2014 and 2016. However, he chose to keep mum on the company’s annual growth in Asia, saying, “We do not release growth figures by region.”

American private equity investment firm CCMP Capital Advisors, which agreed in 2014 to acquire Jamieson for C$300 million (S$3.25 million), now holds a 44% stake in the firm after the IPO.

Hornick believes this will have a positive impact on the company’s business in Asia: CCMP has been an invaluable partner and adviser to us for some time now — since 2014, to be exact — and they continue to play a significant role in our plans to expand our offerings in the Asia marketplace.

“They will continue to serve as an asset to the company for the foreseeable future, and as shareholders, they will work alongside our talented executive team and board of directors to ensure our success.”

Refined Chinese tastes

Among the 40-plus countries Jamieson exports to, Hong Kong is one of its oldest markets. Hornick attributed its continued success in the country to a growing number of consumers opting for Western brands, as well as more stable regulations.

“We have found specifically that the Chinese demographic has migrated to prefer higher quality international vitamins, minerals and supplements — especially Western brands — over domestic brands. 

“In China overall, supplement-related legislation and regulations have stabilised, allowing us to register additional products for sale in the country.”

Growing old, growing business

Many supplement firms have capitalised on the ageing populations in numerous Asian countries, and Jamieson is no stranger to the concept. The company has a range of products meant to improve joint, bone, heart and muscle health, catered to adults aged 50 and above.

Hornick said, “Ageing populations, access to information, and rising disposable income all contribute to growing interest in health, wellness and vitamins, especially in Asia.

“Overall, we have a strategic approach to entering and expanding in international markets, which includes evaluating certain factors in each market, such as competitiveness, pricing dynamics, growth potential, regulatory environment, and the propensity to be attracted to foreign brands.”