Hawkers Emerge From Administration With Same Team In Charge

March 6, 2024, by James Smith

Hawkers Emerge From Administration With Same Team In Charge

Hawkers have emerged from a period of voluntary administration with the same management structure in place after their proposal for a financial restructuring of the business was accepted unanimously by creditors.

The Reservoir-based operation become one of the largest brewing companies to enter administration in the current spate of VAs last month, citing the challenges facing small breweries post-COVID. As reported in a Good Food article highlighting the plight of the country's indie brewers, Hawkers' debts included $1.7m owed to the ATO.

In statement today in which brewery founder and managing director Mazen Hajjar thanked customers and supply partners for their support, he said their "restructuring proposal was unanimously approved", which indicates all creditors, including the ATO, approved the offer. Creditors will receive ten cents on the dollar under the DOCA (Deed of Company Arrangement).

Following the creditors' meeting, he told The Crafty Pint: "It puts us in a much healthier position in terms of having to deal with market challenges. It gives us a reset and the ability to start again.

"It doesn't take away the challenges – the fundamentals of the market still have to change to offer brewers more support [as] it's obviously not fair. But this gives us a chance to have a crack at it again.

"Market conditions have been so dynamic and have changed so quickly; this buys us time to put in place more of what we have been doing in terms of restructuring the business. And we feel quite confident that we're in a good space to have a good crack."

Mazen has been outspoken about the challenges facing the local beer world over the years, notably so in recent times. He opened his books for The Crafty Pint to highlight the impact of rising costs across the board last year, and has been one of the loudest voices calling for change when it comes to longstanding issues such as market access and excise tax. Such challenges were highlighted a few days ago on ABC Radio National.

Since Hawkers entered administration last month, we're aware of two other independent Australian brewing companies to follow suit: Big Shed in Adelaide and Golden West in Perth.

Media Release: Hawkers Beer emerges from administration after financial restructuring 

Australian Brewers Guild Pty Ltd trading as “Hawkers Beer” (Hawkers) has successfully emerged from voluntary administration after creditors today approved a financial restructuring of the business.

Hawkers’ directors appointed DBA Reconstruction & Advisory as Administrator on 12 February 2024. This was a necessary step to deal with financial losses from a difficult period for the business, stemming from greater restrictions on market access and increased production costs.

Hawkers’ directors worked with the Administrator to develop a compelling Deed of Company Arrangement (DOCA) proposal to financially restructure the business, to ensure a stronger and more resilient operation moving forward. The Administrator recommended that creditors accept the DOCA proposal to provide the best outcome to creditors.

The DOCA was signed after the meeting of creditors today, so control of the business has reverted to Hawkers’ management, headed by Mazen Hajjar as Founder and Managing Director.

Mazen noted that under administration it’s been business as usual: “The administration process didn’t change the way we operated at all. Beer production and sales have not been impacted.”

Looking forward, Mazen added: “After a challenging period for the business, we are grateful that our restructuring proposal was unanimously approved. Through a challenging time for the business, we have been buoyed by the support of our customers and supply partners.”

“We are excited at the opportunities ahead and being able to continue writing the Hawkers story. We are confident the restructuring will ensure the business is in a stronger position to compete in challenging market conditions.”

Hawkers is one of Melbourne’s largest manufacturers and distributors of craft beers, based in Reservoir. Hawkers remains committed to producing quality beer for their customers and community. 

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