Home Estate Planning Dead Man’s Fingers maker cuts over 500 jobs and enters the red after cyber attack hits sales

Dead Man’s Fingers maker cuts over 500 jobs and enters the red after cyber attack hits sales

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The maker of Crabbie’s Ginger Beer and Dead Man’s Fingers spiced rum shed more than 500 jobs and entered the red after its sales were hit by a cyber attack, it has been revealed.

Halewood Artisanal Spirts, whose brands also include Whitley Neill Gin, Liverpool Gin and Samuel Gelton’s Irish whiskey, has posted a turnover of £162.4m for the year to July 1, 2023, down from £371.4m.

According to newly-filed accounts with Companies House, its headcount fell from 1,002 to 472 while it went from a pre-tax profit of £25.2m to a loss of £23.7m.

The business said that a cyber attack at the end of 2022 impacted it sales while its turnover also declined by it disposing of its South African and Russian operations.

It added that the war in Ukraine has seen its supply chain costs, especially freight, “spiral to unprecedented magnitudes”.

A statement signed off by the board said: “Net revenues in the period declined by £33m driven primarily by strategic business decisions; £25m of the change to focus away from low margin non-core activities in the UK through the cessation of all agency brands, third party and own label contract manufacturing agreements.

“The group stopped geographical expansion and low margin brands were either sold or delisted.

“The comparative for [the] prior period had three more weeks of trading than the current period due to the disposal of subsidiaries at the year end.

“Finally, the impact of the cyber attack during the peak Christmas trading period and the supply chain difficulties relating to glass had additional one-off negative impacts on net revenues.”

Halewood Artisanal Spirts’ chief executive Stewart Hainsworth revealed that the company had been the target of a cyber attack in late 2022.

He said the main issue had been taken care of in less than 48 hours and the business has made changes to help guard against any future attacks.

The cyber attack impacted the company’s supply chain which resulted in loss of sales during the peak October to December period in 2022.

Halewood Artisanal Spirts said: “The group reacted to inflationary pressures by reducing headcount on non-whisky projects and further scaling back international expansion projects.

“Net revenues from core brands remained resilient, dealing by jus 8 per cent, due to short-term supply chain issues on vodka and down trading out of premium gun whilst 31 per cent prodigious net revenue growth came from Dead Mans’ Fingers spiced rum.

“Global travel retail channels recovered significantly versus the previous reporting period, almost doubling net revenues, driven by premium gun.”

During the year the group disposed of its South Africa and Russian subsidiaries.

As a result of those moves, its sales in South Africa went from £133m to £23m and from £17.2m to £12.3m in the rest of the world.

The company’s turnover fell from £178.2m to £130.1m in the UK and from £16.1m to £7.6m in European Union countries. Its sales also fell from £26.8m to £12.2m in the rest of Europe.

Halewood Artisanal Spirts said its key objectives now are to grow its adjusted EITDA and to increase its operating income by focusing on its own artisanal spirits.

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