(Middlebury, VT) – President and CEO of Vermont Hard Cider Company, Bret Williams, jumped on a call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon to discuss the pending sale of the company to C&C Group acquisition.
Williams is “very confident” that the $305 million deal will receive antitrust clearance from the FTC. The agency has thirty days to sort through any possible questions it may have. Williams plans to file the Notification and Report Form no later than Wednesday afternoon which will initiate the regulatory window. If all goes well, the deal will be completed by year’s end as the agreement has already been finalized between the two parties.
Though C&C management said on the Tuesday morning call that they had got to know the VTHCC business upfront over the course of the last two to three years, Williams said that he did not receive an offer until this past August. Williams hadn’t shopped the company prior to that and decided against doing so even after C&C indicated interest. He believed the offer to be “very aggressive” and wanted to avoid putting his 125 employees through what could have become months of uncertainty with respect to the company’s future. Williams noted that he likely left money on the table in taking the C&C deal.
Vermont Hard Cider Co. is on pace to produce approximately four million cases (or approximately 290,000 barrels) this year, up 25% from last year.
Williams also fine-tuned what Euromonitor previously reported for 2011 market share, clarifying that it was closer to 44%. He acknowledged that, with increased activity in the cider category, the number could end up lower in 2012.
VTHCC is still working on permitting though it hopes to break ground on its expansion project by spring or summer of 2013. Though the initial plan called for $24 million to be invested into growing the facility to 100,000 square feet, C&C Group thinks that the company will need more space. When all is said and done, the company may be looking at $30 million in investment and a 120k (or thereabouts) square-foot facility.
Williams, who was once the sales manager for Green Mountain Beverage (former name for VTHCC), acquired the company from his then-employer in 2003 for $2.3 million at a time when it was “hemorrhaging” (in Williams’ words) $300,000 per month. Nine years later, the company will reach revenue of greater than $70 million and operating profit of $15 million with zero debt.
For full BeerPulse coverage, please head to the Vermont Hard Cider Co. page.