Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner ASC completes 'cornerstone' multi-million investment
Scotch Malt Whisky Society owner Artisanal Spirits Company has secured a “cornerstone” investment from BGF, formerly the Business Growth Fund, as part of its stock market flotation.
BGF invested £7 million in ASC as part of this month’s initial public offering (IPO), which achieved a valuation of around £78m following the listing.
Confirmation of the growth fund’s major investment comes in the wake of the admission of ASC’s shares to London’s junior Alternative Investment Market (Aim) on June 4.
Headquartered in Edinburgh, ASC is the owner of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS), which is based at The Vaults in Leith and looks to share the world’s best curated whiskies, bringing them to life through tasting events, content and other member activities. Founded in 1983, SMWS commands a membership of some 28,000 members, across 30 countries.
The BGF deal marks its second investment in a Scottish IPO in 12 months, after it invested in Calnex Solutions, an established provider of test and measurement services for the global telecommunications sector, in September 2020.
The funds raised by ASC through the listing, along with the company’s existing cash resources, will allow it to develop its membership base, enhance its digital channels, grow internationally and bring new brands to market.
David Ridley, managing director at the Artisanal Spirits Company, said: “We are delighted to have completed our IPO, and are grateful for the support from new investors, such as BGF.
“The move onto the public markets will provide us with new capital, a raised profile and enhanced ability to bring new products to life, as we seek to capture an increased share of the growing market for premium Scotch whisky products to a global audience.”
Paddy Graham, head of BGF’s Edinburgh office, said: “The investment in Artisanal Spirits marks our second IPO in Scotland in the last 12 months and is another great example of our regional investment model which has seen our Scottish investors work hand in hand with BGF’s quoted team.
“We were able to move quickly from point of introduction and were impressed by the company’s growth to date, its global footprint, and brand equity. The deal marks another strong growth story for the Scottish market.”
Paul Stevens, BGF’s head of quoted investments, added: “We are proud to be investing in Artisanal Spirits, an exciting business which has demonstrated strong growth, both in the UK and internationally.
“As a premium brand, with a strong digital platform, Artisanal Spirits has high growth aspirations and an experienced management team we believe can execute on the opportunity. The listing on Aim is a validation of the company’s success to date and we look forward to working in partnership with the management team as it moves to the next level.”
On June 4, ASC saw its entire issued share capital of 69,605,774 ordinary shares admitted to trading on Aim. It debuted with a market capitalisation of about £78m based on shares being priced at £1.12. The fundraising raised £11m for certain selling shareholders, and £15m for the company.