Organic Choice, Trix, Orange Power to disappear from supermarkets after collapse

Australian shoppers will soon be unable to buy household cleaning products from Organic Choice, Trix, Orange Power and Aware Sensitive from Coles and Woolworths after the cleaning brands’ parent company collapsed just days into the new year.

On January 2, Hiro Brands appointed three KPMG restructuring partners as administrators who ceased Hiro’s operations after conducting an “urgent assessment of its financial position”, resulting in 120 job losses.

Supermarket shoppers will soon be unable to find household brands Organic Choice, Trix, Orange Power and more.
Supermarket shoppers will soon be unable to find household brands Organic Choice, Trix, Orange Power and more.Credit: Getty

KPMG restructuring partners David Hardy, James Dampney and James Stewart have assumed day-to-day control of the company and are seeking a buyer for the business.

“Regrettably, following our appointment it became evident the financial position of the business would not allow the continuation of trading activities. As a result, we have terminated most employees’ employment arrangements,” said Hardy.

“We are urgently seeking buyers for the Hiro Brands Group’s assets, including brands and intellectual property. We will be working with all stakeholders, including employees, suppliers, and customers, to maximise the outcome.”

The company targets the eco-friendly natural ingredients market and operates skincare brands Billie Goat, Aus Medic Co, personal care brands Bodytools, Medi Manager, Chuckies, The Wheat Bag, as well as cosmetics brands ulta3, MUD and OZK.O Eyewear. Many of Hiro’s products are sold through Chemist Warehouse, TerryWhite and Priceline.

The company is expected to convene a first creditors meeting on January 11. Before administrators were appointed, plastic bottle manufacturer Quality Blow Moulders submitted an application on November 6 for Hiro Brands to be wound up.

This is not the first time the business has collapsed. The entity, formerly known as Wellness and Beauty Solutions, operated a network of cosmetics clinics that were hit hard by the pandemic’s lockdowns, sliding into administration in March 2021 and emerging in December that year.

During that period, external administrator Lawrence Fitzgerald of insolvency firm William Buck issued just under $1.2 million in payments, including $270,988.65 to employees. The company changed its name to Hiro Brands Group on August 29, 2022.

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It recorded a profit of $5.4 million for the 2022 financial year, but this was because of more than $8 million in debt forgiveness. It had net cash outflows of nearly $2 million and net current liabilities of $2.3 million during that period.

“There is a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the group’s ability to continue as a going concern, and, therefore, that it may be unable to realise its asset and discharge its liabilities in the normal course of business,” stated an auditor report prepared by PwC partner Paul Lewis in October 2022.

Early last year, Hiro Brands CEO Steven Chaur – former Four ’N Twenty pies chief executive – told Retail Beauty he planned to triple revenue and increase market share.

Hiro Brands was reportedly angling for a float on the ASX in 2022 with intentions to pitch itself as a “mini-BWX”, the now-collapsed cosmetics company that paid $89 million for Zoe Foster Blake’s Go-To Skincare, but those IPO plans were ultimately parked.

About 80 per cent of Hiro Brands is owned by private equity firm BRC Capital and businesswoman Lyndsey Cattermole. The pair invested $15 million into the company in April last year, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

Cattermole ceased being a director in early December. BRC Capital founder Paul Docherty is listed as the company’s sole director. BRC Capital has been contacted for comment.

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Source: Thanks smh.com