Australian re-listed health and wellness company Wellnex Life (ASX: WNX) is set to break into the national grocery space with confirmation this morning that Coles Group (ASX: COL) will stock its Wakey Wakey and The Iron Company nutritional brands in supermarkets nationwide.
The move will give Wellnex immediate national grocery channel exposure and will complement existing distribution agreements with pharmacy groups and wholesalers including Chemist Warehouse, Terry White Chemmart, Australian Pharmaceuticals Industries (API) and Symbion.
Wakey Wakey is an energy boosting product provided in gummie and effervescent format, while The Iron Company provides Australia’s first slow-release iron gummies with added vitamin C.
The new deal builds on Wellnex’s mission to bring innovative brands and products to Australian consumers.
Working with Coles
Wellnex chief executive officer George Karafotias welcomed the opportunity to work with Coles Group.
“We are delighted that two of our new and wholly-owned brands are being ranged in [Australia’s] national grocery and pharmacy channels,” he said.
“These national retailer commitments give us great confidence that we are producing and bringing to market health and wellness products that are in demand and address clear consumer needs.”
The first manufacturing run of quantities under the Coles agreement has been completed and is scheduled for delivery next month.
Today’s announcement follows the July launch of Wellnex’s Wagner Liquigesic brand in partnership with Chemist Warehouse, and an August licencing deal with the Performance Inspired brand of sports nutrition products developed by US celebrity Mark Wahlberg.
The Wagner joint venture will manufacture an ibuprofen and paracetamol combination liquid soft gel product and has already received close to $1 million in opening purchase orders for the range.
The Performance Inspired agreement provides Wellnex with an exclusive arrangement to supply a tailored range of nutrition and supplement products to markets in Australia and New Zealand, and first rights to expand into Asia.
The brand caters to people with more active lifestyles and gives a percentage of profits back to the community through charity commitments.
Realignment and transformation
The Coles deal caps off a year of realignment and transformation for Wellnex with milestones including a review of the group’s assets and the subsequent acquisition of health and wellness company Brand Solutions Australia.
During the 12 months to 30 June, the company continued to execute a strategic plan and operational process to improve its financial performance, building on work done in the previous financial year.
Revenue and other income increased by 29.6% to $1.43 million compared to 2020 figures, reflecting an increase in distribution and sales of the company’s Little Innoscents (organic baby skincare) and Uganic (organic nutritional milk products) brands.
Loss from ordinary activities decreased 46% to $24.9 million and was driven by expenses relating to the December disposal of Corio Bay Dairy Group to the Australian subsidiary of South Korea’s Maeil Dairies Co Ltd.
Cash from operations dropped 42% to $4.45 million while cash reserves jumped 595%.
Wellnex enhanced its financial position by converting $7.1 million in borrowings to equity at $0.15 per share, and raised a further $2.1 million in a rights issue with funds received before year end.