Sinking Beauty Brand BWX Brings On Lisa Ronson To Save The Day

Sinking Beauty Brand BWX Brings On Lisa Ronson To Save The Day

Lisa Ronson, former CMO of Coles, joined struggling natural beauty group BWX’s board of directors yesterday. 

BWX’s brands include Zoë Foster Blake’s Go-To, as well as Sukin, Andalou Naturals, Mineral Fusion, and is backed by billionaires Nicola and Andrew Forrest.

This comes after a terrifying statutory loss of $335 million for BWX in FY22 and a $100 million loss that followed in the first half of FY23. 

Ronson’s appointment was announced the same day BWX’s CEO and managing director Rory Gration departed the group. 

BWX said in a very convincing statement:

“Mr Gration and the board have agreed his departure will take effect immediately, allowing Mr Gration the opportunity to enjoy some much-needed family time while exploring other opportunities. 

“The board thanks Mr Gration for his contribution to BWX and wishes him well for the future.” 

To replace Gration, BWX steals another Coles veteran Thinus Keeve, Coles’s former chief of sustainability, property and export officer to turn the ship around. However, auditors at PwC expressed concern and stated that there was “material uncertainty” over BWX’s finances.

“There is a material uncertainty, which may cast significant doubt (over) whether the group will be able to continue as a going concern and therefore whether it will realise its assets and extinguish its liabilities in the normal course of business and at the amounts stated in the financial reports,” PwC said according to the Financial Review.

BWX’s net assets sat at $13.3 million in the six months leading up to December 31 2022, compared with $98.5 million on June 30, of the same year.

BWX chairman Steve Fisher attempted to justify the group’s losses and delineate future projections in his address at the BWX Limited Annual General Meeting yesterday:

“These include customer de-stocking in key channels, cash constraints leading to out-of-stock as well as the effect of promotional campaigns which continue in channels even where de-stocking occurred. 

“Operating expenses were affected by higher external costs as a result of debt restructuring initiatives, restructuring charges and higher doubtful debt provisions due to processing delays with customer claims. We also recorded a non-cash impairment of approximately $60 million. 

“This is attributable to the under-performance of our brands in the key segments of the Company. While it is a noncash item, it does reflect the poor performance and it is something on which we will focus on in the second half of FY23 and beyond. 

“As announced to ASX this morning, we now expect our full-year FY23 results to be revenue in the range of $150 to $170 million, with Half-Two EBITDA between $5 and $12 million.  This full-year forecast is supported by the work that has been ongoing to restructure and lower the cost base of the Company, divestment of non-core assets and the anticipated refinancing of the Company. 

“There are risks and sensitivities around this guidance which are detailed in our ASX release this morning. In closing, I believe that our brands are strong and supported by leading retailers and the product is desired by the consumer. 

“With a new Board, refreshed management team and focus placed on the core businesses, the Company is well placed to return to profitability. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome Marcus Derwin and Lisa Ronson to the Board” said Fischer.

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