22/05/2008 - 15:14

Empire Beer seeks new direction

22/05/2008 - 15:14

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Empire Beer Group Ltd has become the latest Western Australian boutique brewing company to review its strategic direction, following the resignation of its acting chief executive.

Empire Beer Group Ltd has become the latest Western Australian boutique brewing company to review its strategic direction, following the resignation of its acting chief executive.

Empire said today that acting CEO Brendan Cocks has resigned from the Subiaco-based brewer.

In a statement, company secretary Phil Warren said Mr Cocks was instrumental in the brand development of its subsidiary, the Colonial Brewing Company, and will remain with Empire until June 12.

Mr Cocks' resignation comes at a time when Empire will reassess its strategic direction and review its asset portfolio to consider new business opportunities.

The company also announced a successful $600,000 capital raising through the issue of 600 Convertible Notes, at an issue price of $1,000 per note.

Empire will use the funds for brand development and to maintain The Royal on the Waterfront and the Colonial Margaret River venues.

The brewing company is the latest in a string of WA boutique beer makers to rethink current market strategies and corporate direction in the midst of tough times.

Palmyra-based Gage Roads Brewing Company began undergoing a strategic overhaul after the resignations of former managing director Peter Nolin and chairman Michael Perrott in October 2007, and is set to release 17 new products over two years.

Gage Roads joins Mount Pleasant beer maker Oz Brewing Ltd and Empire in handing down disappointing half-year results in March.

Oz Brewing has diversified by purchasing a shed and transportable accomodation manufacturer from one of its directors.

At the company's May 20 shareholders' meeting, a $4 million capital raising venture was flagged by Oz, as was its new company name, SCG Corporation, which managing director Trevor Pugh said stood for 'Strong Capital Growth'.

Empire shares peaked at 16 cents in February but dipped to just 11 cents in early April before trading at 13 cents on May 20.

Gage Roads traded at eight cents in late April after a high of 12 cents in February, but dipped to seven cents on May 21.

Oz Brewing on the other hand, which brews and sells European-style beers under the Mad Monk label in Fremantle, dropped to four cents on March 3, peaked at 10 cents on April 24, before closing at five cents on May 20.

Empire, like most other WA boutique brewers, has struggled to keep the pace with Little World Beverages which closed at a high of $1.60 on May 20.

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