Raising Finance

Fever-Tree founder nets millions by selling shares in drinks business

2 min read

25 May 2017

Former editor

The founder of Fever-Tree, Charles Rolls, has cashed in on the growth of his drinks company by offloading 4.5m shares and pocketing £73m in the process.

Having set up the business alongside Tim Warrilow in 2005, Rolls most recently served as executive deputy chairman of Fever-Tree – but will now be taking a backward step and become a non-executive director.

Fever-Tree, a drinks business which produces premium tonic waters and other mixers, grew rapidly from its base in 2005 to a point where it joined the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in 2014 with a market capitalisation of around £150m.

Since then its share price has grown from an entry of 134p up to its current level of 1,689p and a market capitalisation of over £1bn.

Back in 2016, Rolls and Warrilow, sold nearly £17m worth of shares on the same day – when the business had experienced sales growth of 71 per cent to £60m in the last year. Profits were up by 2.5m to 16.7m.

Following the most recent divestiture of shares by Rolls, the founder has agreed to not, without written consent from bookrunner Investec, dispose of any more shares in the next six months.

Preliminary results for 2016 showed Fever-Tree profits before tax of £34.3m in the last year, an increase of 105 per cent.

Speaking when these results were released in March 2017, Warrillow, who remains CEO of Fever-Tree, said: “2016 has been another exceptional year of growth for Fever-Tree, with strong results achieved across all regions, channels and flavours, emphasising the global appeal of the Fever-Tree brand.”

Commenting on the decision by Rolls to step back from management, Warrilow added: “As co-founder of Fever-Tree, Charles’ support and advice will continue to be invaluable to the company. We have an excellent and growing team in place and I personally look forward to continuing to work with Charles as we further build on the success of the brand that we created together 14 years ago.”

Fever-Tree has outlined future plans to expand in the dark spirits category – rum, whiskey and bourbon. This market is reportedly ten times bigger than gin, the drinks vertical that provided the business with its early growth.