Greenlit Brands Media Release – FY21 Financials

31 January 2022

By Greenlit Brands Management

Steinhoff International’s Asia Pacific businesses, comprising the Greenlit Brands and Fantastic Furniture Groups (APAC Group) have delivered strong growth and performance during the 2021 income year, whilst also making significant progress across several key strategic initiatives.

Speaking on the 2021 results, Michael Ford, CEO of Greenlit Brands and Chairman of Fantastic Furniture, said:

“Our impressive financial results for 2021 are a testament to the quality of our brands, the capability of our people, and the resilience of our business models against the ongoing headwinds of COVID-19, including COVID-related lockdowns across Australia and New Zealand. The progress we made against our strategic priorities, and the strength of our balance sheet gives us much confidence as we continue to invest and grow our businesses.”

Key Highlights and Snapshot.1

• Total Combined revenue of $1.3bn2 for the APAC Group, up 8.6% on 2020, despite COVID related lockdowns impacting Sales across Australia and New Zealand.

• Total Combined operational EBITDA before extraordinary costs of $107.3m3 for the APAC Group represented 15% growth on the prior year.

• Total Combined normalised PBT of $47.4m4 for the APAC Group, up 35% on a strong 2020 comparative representing a 2-year PBT CAGR of 171%.5

• Total Combined online sales of $295.8m for the APAC Group, up 17.7%6 on 2020, representingthe successful execution of a contemporary digital first strategy across all brands.

• Results reflect a significant turnaround in underperforming businesses with all Greenlit Brands businesses profitable and cash flow positive.

• Greenlit Brands and Fantastic Furniture are debt free with significant combined cash reserves of $198.3m and available facilities.

• Refinanced Banking Facilities on improved terms.

• Successfully implemented a restructure of the ownership of Fantastic Furniture.

• Divested Plush Sofas to Nick Scali realising total gross proceeds subsequent to year-end of $110.6m.

• Divested the Group’s interests in the Chinese manufacturing joint venture, and the remaining Fantastic Furniture properties realising total proceeds of $9.6m.

• All businesses prioritised various health and wellbeing initiatives for our people despite ongoing COVID challenges, and especially Delta strain related lockdowns in more recent months. These impressive financial results reflect the effort and resilience of our people during these difficult times.

1 Key Highlights and Snapshot includes combined results and performance of Plush and Fantastic Furniture businesses for the full financial year ended 3 October 2021.
2 From Annual Reports – includes Greenlit Brands’ revenue from continuing operations and discontinued operations Plush Sofas and Fantastic Furniture, plus FFHoldco Pty Ltd revenue.
3 From Internal Management Analysis, on a pre AASB116 basis.
4 From Annual Reports – includes Greenlit Brands’ PBT from continuing operations and discontinued operations Plush Sofas and Fantastic Furniture, plus FFHoldco Pty Ltd revenue, excluding extraordinary expenses.
5 2-year CAGR compares all Household Goods businesses PBT per Annual Reports, excluding extraordinary items.
6 From Internal Management Analysis.

Greenlit Brands and Fantastic are debt free with significant cash reserves and available facilities.

During the 2021 year, a restructure was completed of the ownership of the Fantastic Furniture business within the Steinhoff International Group. While all businesses remain members of the APAC Group, the Fantastic Furniture business is no longer owned directly by Greenlit Brands.

Following the restructure, Greenlit Brands and Fantastic Furniture have prepared and lodged separate financial accounts. For the 2021 year, Fantastic Furniture’s financial accounts include the final seven months’ operations of Fantastic Furniture. The first five months of Fantastic Furniture’s operations in 2021 are included as discontinued operations in Greenlit Brands’ financial accounts.

The restructure allowed the APAC Group to discharge in full its outstanding debt and ensured that both Greenlit Brands and the restructured Fantastic Furniture business had access to ongoing banking facilities on improved terms. The restructure also allowed for an orderly transition of the business in preparation for a future IPO of Fantastic Furniture. Greenlit Brands continues to support and provide services to the Fantastic Furniture business following the restructure.

Significant Turnaround in Underperforming Businesses

During 2021, Greenlit Brands’ ongoing investment in digital and e-commerce initiatives combined with refurbishing the store network and prudent cost management has seen the majority of its businesses contribute increased sales and profits. Greenlit Brands continued to preference a digital first strategy across the brands which has powered growth in online sales from $60m to now nearing $300m over the past 4 years. Such initiatives continue to deliver strong returns for the retail businesses into 2022 and are expected to continue.

Greenlit Brands has supported the investment in the Freedom turnaround strategy over the past two years under the leadership of Freedom CEO, Blaine Callard and a new management team. The investment has included a store refresh program, IT upgrades, and various growth initiatives.

Divestment of Plush

Greenlit Brands finalised the divestment of Plush Sofas subsequent to year end in an orderly fashion recognising total gross proceeds of $110.6m. The transaction allows Plush to grow to the next stage of its development under the ownership of Nick Scali, whilst realising significant value for Greenlit Brands’shareholder.


Following completion of the above transaction, the APAC Group paid combined dividends of $170m to their shareholder.

Greenlit Brands’ Future

Greenlit Brands remains financially independent from its parent group, Steinhoff International.

Whilst Greenlit Brands remains committed to the shareholders direction and ultimately further divestments, there is no deadline set for transacting the remaining businesses. Greenlit Brands will continue to implement its strategic initiatives, and invest in its brands, and people whilst evaluating strategic options and opportunities.

Speaking on Greenlit Brands’ future, Michael Ford, said:

“The financial and operational strength of Greenlit Brands, underpinned by our suite of iconic brands, all of which are profitable and cash flow positive, puts us in a strong position to maximise value for our shareholder. We are not in a rush to transact our businesses. We continue to evaluate opportunities from a position of strength.”

Media contact: Justin Kirkwood | 0411 251 324 |

Greenlit, Fantastic Furniture strengthen, despite Covid impact

31 January 2022

By Robert Stockdill

Greenlit Brands and Fantastic Furniture have overcome “the ongoing headwinds of Covid-19” to deliver strong growth last year, according to CEO Michael Ford.

“The progress we made against our strategic priorities, and the strength of our balance sheet gives us much confidence as we continue to invest and grow our businesses,” he said, releasing the results of the two businesses of Steinhoff International’s Asia Pacific operations.

All of the businesses within the group were both profitable and cashflow positive, reflecting a significant turnaround from the preceding years.

Combined group revenue for the year to December was $1.3 billion, up 8.6 per cent year on year, despite Covid lockdowns impacting store trading hours in both Australia and New Zealand. Online sales surged 17.7 per cent to reach $295.8 million.

Combined EBITDA before extraordinary costs reached $107.3 million, an improvement of 15 per cent over 2020.

Ford, pictured above, said the e-commerce boost reflected the company’s execution of a contemporary, digital-first strategy across all of its brands.

Both Greenlit Brands and Fantastic Furniture ended the year debt-free and with cash reserves of $198.3 million, while the sale of Plush Sofas to Nick Scali resulted in gross proceeds of $110.6 million subsequent to the financial year-end.

Ford said that while Greenlit Brands remained financially independent from its troubled South African parent group Steinhoff International, there was “no deadline for transacting the remaining Australasian businesses”. Meanwhile, the company would continue to implement strategic initiatives and invest in its brands and people, while evaluating strategic options and opportunities.

“The financial and operational strength of Greenlit Brands, underpinned by our suite of iconic brands, all of which are profitable and cash-flow positive, puts us in a strong position to maximise value for our shareholders. We are not in a rush to transact our businesses,” said Ford.

“We continue to evaluate opportunities from a position of strength.”

[This article was reproduced with the permission of Inside Retail.]

Greenlit Brands’ Michael Ford talks turnaround with Inside Retail

2 December 2021

By Heather McIlvaine

In a retail career spanning over 30 years, the global supply chain crisis caused by Covid-19 has been one of the most challenging situations Greenlit Brands boss Michael Ford has ever faced.

“There is less freight available than there’s ever been, and demand has never been higher, so your working capital is enormously at risk because demand is exceeding supply,” Ford, Greenlit Brands’ executive chairman and group CEO, told Inside Retail.

Part of Steinhoff International, Greenlit Brands owns the household goods brands Freedom, Fantastic Furniture, Snooze, and OMF.

“I would say it’s the most challenging [situation] we’ve faced, and unlike apparel, which you can air freight, in the furniture industry, you’ve actually got to get it in containers and ship it because they’re bulky goods” he said.

The global shortage of containers and backlog of ships waiting to be unloaded at ports has resulted in lead times of up to six months for made-to-order furniture in the Freedom business, and while in-stock businesses, such as Fantastic Furniture, have been less affected by these delays, they have seen a significant increase in the cost of shipping.

“Freight rates have gone up over the last nine months by four to five times what they were historically,” Aaron Canning, Greenlit Brands’ chief operating officer, told Inside Retail.

“We hedge our freight requirements. However, freight forwarders and the like aren’t adhering to those contracts, so that’s totally changed the global logistics market.”

Another 12 months of disruption

The rising cost of shipping has flattened off recently, though it’s still well above what it was two years ago, and factory disruptions in Asia have abated, but
Ford believes it could be another 12 months before the supply chain returns to normal.

“When the pandemic arrived, the people manufacturing freight, whether it be ships or containers, reduced their manufacturing significantly, and as a result, we’ve suffered,” he said.

“Our view and the view of our merchants is that 2023 is probably when we will see it stabilise.”

However, while the supply chain crisis has made managing inventory and customer expectations difficult, it has been good for Greenlit Brands’ balance

“We have paid off all our debt, local and offshore, and made sure that our balance sheet and our cash position is strong, and one of the reasons [we’ve been able to do that] is because of the efficiency of working capital in the furniture industry,” Ford explained.

“There’s no local manufacturing, it all comes from offshore, so you have to sell into a lead time, and you have to take a deposit. If you manage that efficiently, it can be cash flow positive, and we’ve found ourselves in that situation.”

Group profit was up 39 per cent in FY21 on revenues with written sales of approximately $1.5 billion. All four brands are cash flow positive and profitable, Ford said.

‘We were on a knife’s edge’

It’s a rapid turnaround from December 2017 when a massive accounting scandal at Greenlit Brands’ parent Steinhoff International threw doubt on its very survival. Steinhoff, which had been funding the local operation (then called Steinhoff Asia Pacific), saw its share price tank from €3.50 to 30 cents in a matter of weeks.

“Immediately I was in front of what’s known as the ‘bad bank’. You have your relationship bankers, then you have the credit [bank], and then you have the bad bank. And it’s like walking into an ambush with those guys,” Ford said.

“They were going to pull our credit line on the 22nd of December, I remember it was a Friday, and we were faced with the dilemma of basically going into administration.”

The business initially received credit terms for just 30 days, then 60 days, before ultimately receiving commercial terms.

“During that period, we were on a knife’s edge,” he said.

Every cost in the business was scrutinised for potential savings and new senior leaders with operational expertise were brought in, including Canning, Freedom CEO Blaine Callard, Fantastic Furniture CEO Kieron Ritchard, and OMF CEO Ian Vann.

At the same time, the general merchandise division, which included Debenhams, Best & Less, and Harris Scarfe in Australia, and Postie in New Zealand, was offloaded to private equity firm Allegro in 2019 to allow the group to focus on its core strength in furniture.

“The number one priority is to enable these brands to perform better than they have historically, so that they appeal to acquirers who will be a great home for the colleagues in those stores,” Ford said.

Investing in technology to continue to improve the brands’ digital offerings is key. E-commerce sales have increased from approximately $60 million in 2017 to $300 million today, and they now represent over 30 per cent of total sales at Fantastic Furniture. Across the group, this figure is over 20 per cent.

“The shareholders’ direction is to transact the businesses, but there’s no hurry. Build them, make them successful, and give us the best possible value. That’sour goal,” he said.

Last month, Greenlit Brands sold Plush to Nick Scali Group for $110 million.

[This article was reproduced with the permission of Inside Retail.]