Outgoing managing director of Glanbia, Siobhán Talbot, has affirmed the company’s commitment to its weight loss drinks brand, SlimFast, despite a decline in sales due to increased competition in the market. Glanbia reported a 33% decrease in consumption of the drinks in the US over a 12-week period ending in mid-July. The company’s diet and weight management category has struggled to recover from the impact of the pandemic. Talbot acknowledged the challenges faced by SlimFast but stressed the brand’s strong core proposition. She expects the declining volumes to stabilize in 2024 and beyond.
Glanbia, headquartered in Kilkenny, acquired SlimFast from US private equity firm Kainos Capital in 2018 for €302m. Talbot noted that the brand experienced significant growth following the acquisition until the pandemic hit. Despite its declining popularity, SlimFast still accounts for 11% of Glanbia’s performance nutrition portfolio. In the first six months of this year, Glanbia reported revenue of $2.8bn (€2.5bn), a decrease from approximately $3bn in the same period last year, mainly due to the decline in SlimFast volumes. However, the company’s overall earnings increased by 6% to just under $200m, driven by price increases across its performance nutrition arm, which offset the volume declines. As a result, Glanbia’s shares rose more than 3% after the release of the interim results.
Siobhán Talbot described the first half of 2023 as a period of good performance for Glanbia, particularly in its Glanbia Performance Nutrition division. She attributed the growth in revenue, earnings, and margin to the strong global performance of the flagship Optimum Nutrition brand. Talbot stated that the company does not plan to implement significant price increases this year.
In addition to the news about SlimFast, Siobhán Talbot announced her retirement as managing director of Glanbia after a decade in the role. She will be succeeded by Hugh McGuire, the current CEO of the Glanbia Performance Nutrition division, who has been with the company for 20 years. McGuire will assume the position of CEO of Glanbia and join the Glanbia board as an executive director from January 1. The announcement came after Glanbia raised its earnings outlook for the remainder of the year and projected growth between 12% and 15%. The group’s interim dividend also increased by 10% to 14.22 cents per share, and the company returned €64.5m to shareholders through share buybacks during the period.