Oliver's loss deepened ahead of EG Group twist

Oliver's loss deepened ahead of EG Group twist

While Oliver's Real Food (ASX: OLI) is almost an entirely different company since linking up with EG Group at petrol stations around the country, its FY20 results show signs of a turnaround that was just a distant dream 18 months ago.

The company's loss was 12 per cent greater at $17.5 million, but that was mostly due to impairments, depreciation and the amortisation of assets as it grappled with restructuring as well as the twin impacts of bushfires and COVID-19 on business activity.

But EBITDA in contrast was $76,264, which may not sound like a great result but this time last year the company was in crisis mode and hadn't even released its performance figures yet.

When it finally did so on 31 October, EBITDA was $6.5 million in the red for FY19.

Today the company reported an 18.5 per cent drop in revenue to $28.54 million for the year to 30 June, but since then the EG deal has led its store count to rise from 24 to 74.

Oliver's now expects to have 135 outlets by December, although management has cautioned continued challenging trading conditions due to the second wave of COVID-19 in Victoria and related border closures which have set back some of the positive sales momentum from reopened stores in May and June.

While the headline result is down the company's new CEO Tammie Phillips says "getting the results the right way" is what matters.

Phillips founded health food supermarket chain About Life in 1995 and was its CEO until 2018.

"Undoubtedly FY20 presented the toughest trading conditions the Oliver's business has ever seen," she said in today's release.

"In response to that the business showed strong resilience by successfully lowering operating costs across the group over the year and with progressive thinking in Q4 opened the business up to a new channel in the petrol convenience space.

"The business is now in a strong, stable position to continue to grow revenues in the petrol convenience channel and to recover quickly in the QSR (quick service retail) channel when borders are re-opened and economic stability starts to return."

Oliver's chairman and co-founder Jason Gunn appears to have found a kindred spirit in Phillips.

"As the founder and incumbent CEO, I am delighted to have found someone that I am confident is the ideal candidate to take this business forward," he said of her appointment.

"Tammie has demonstrated over many years an incredible entrepreneurial spirit, as well as a very real passion for health and retailing. In getting to know Tammie, I find her 'roll-up the sleeves' hands on approach, combined with strategic and analytical abilities and a lot of tenacity to be just what this business needs moving forward."

Updated at 4:27pm AEST on 1 September 2020.

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